Francoise le Calvez InterviewSaturday, 16 April 2016 00:00
"It's a family business!" We spoke with Francoise le Calvez as she poured and discussed five of her wines under the Coupe Roses label.
Francoise and her enologist husband, Pascal Frissant, work Coupe Roses in the Minervois Appellation with passion and state of the art technology. But in the end, as Francoise reminds us, a "it's family business."
Francoise began her journey into wine with her father. The PH of the soil in the vineyards was not optimum. Her father found a soil researcher who concluded that "the roots were not going deeply enough to have the best expression of the soil." The problem was resolved but it is a constant labor of love. "We are always working on the soil," says Francoise, because when you get right down to it, "it's all about the soil."
At Coupe Roses, in the village of La Caunette in Minervois, Francoise and Pascal make authentic wines, "wines of the soil," and"wines that express the "slow work of nature." Francoise describes her wines as an "expression of the terroir" and a "universe of sensory poetry."
Champs du Roy Blanc is an aromatic, dry blend of Grenache Blanc and Muscat.
Francoise says the grapes for this wine are chosen "because of the chemical composition of the soil."
Fremillant Rose is based on 40% Mourvedre blended in equal parts of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. "Each grape gives character to the wine." The wine has an interesting color leaning, as Francoise says "toward violet!"
Ahhhh, Bastide. "The nose is quite strong." Bastide, made of equal parts Carignan and Grenache with about 5% Syrah, pairs with food or can go alone. "It's a Bistro Wine!" Francoise says there is a lot of discussion in France about Carignan. Noting that French wines in Languedoc are most often Syrah based, Francoise reminds us that there was a time "when wines were up to 90% Carignan." The varietal is, Francoise says with determination, "very good when it's young" and "we must save Carignan!"
Vignals is a "rich and intense" wine made in steel tanks to bring out "the best in the grapes." Vignals is 60% Syrah with 30% Grenache and a touch of Carignan. "Varietals are vinified separately to determine how the varietals will perform."
Pouring the Grenache, Francoise says: "This is a perfumed wine. The strong aromas come from the herbs, rosemary, thyme and lavendar, growing in the soil." A blend of Grenache with 10% Syrah, the wine is aged in oak barrels making it a bit, Francoise says,"more subtle." A lot of aromas and flavors here. I even found tobacco on the nose. Francoise likes the "cherry finish."
Orience is mostly Syrah with 10% Grenache. Aged in 30% new oak barrels, this is the heavy hitter but in no way too much. Francoise finds "Szechuan pepper notes on the finish."
As Francoise pours, discusses her philosophy and the characteristics of each wine, she often repeats with a smile as well as conviction, whats in her heart and what it's really all about at Coupe Roses: "It's a family business." And that says it all.
You can find Bastide on the menu at AMBROZIA.