The French region of Maury is notable for its scenic, rugged countryside as you approach the Pyrenees; for the Cathar castles of Peyrepertuse (above) and Queribus; and for its unique, natural or fortified sweet wines. We've visited the castles in years past. (Yes, I took the picture above. Every view is a postcard.) We've visited perhaps the most well-known of the Maury wineries - Mas Amiel. And for this trip, we decided to go into the town of Maury itself and see what the cooperative and wineries other than Mas Amiel had to offer.
We were not disappointed.
Every tasting was unique and enjoyable. Although we do not subscribe to theory that if you taste you must buy, we bought at each stop. Here's a quick summary of our purchases. Remember, I am by no means a connoisseur. I seldom drink red wine even with the reddest of red meat. In fact, I rarely stray from my favorite rosés regardless of the food on the plate. So when you read my opinions, you are reading the opinions of an avid though amateur drinker of wine who probably has no business offering an opinion at all.
LES VIGNERONS DE MAURY: CAVE COOPERATIF
Prominently placed on the main drag, folks bustled in and out of the cooperative the entire time. Two tasting tables stayed busy. As is typical, once staff realized that English was our first language, they switched to English although we persisted in French. We like to think that we can be understood in their language while well-schooled, customer-facing French actually do like to practice their English. Happens everywhere, all of the time. But I digress.
Eight or nine different wines were poured for us, ranging from 'simple' whites under 7€ to an aged, old-vine Grenache Noir natural (not fortified) sweet red for 38€. If you follow the link above, you can see their full line. Prices at the door are about 15% less than the prices listed on the website. Although one of our friends bought a bottle of the top end Maury Tuilé "Chabert de Barbera", we bought three bottles of each of the following whites, total bill under 45€.
|'Maury Blanc', 100% Macabeu, 16%, clean and sweet, serve well chilled as an aperitif, with foie foie gras, or with dessert|
|'Nature de Schiste', 100% Grenache Gris, 14.5%, must be chilled to 10C for my taste because very minerally, listed as a possible aperitif but I think fish/shellfish would work best|
|Maury Tuilé "Chabert de Barbera" The real deal. Light up a cigar and pretend that you are Winston. But not at our house. We didn't buy any.|
DOMAINE SEMPERWe dropped into the small tasting room across the side street from the cooperative with no expectations. Indeed, we interrupted the lone gent at his newspaper. But he dove in quickly enough, even breaking up some chocolate to demonstrate the proper accompaniment to his naturally sweet 'Viatge'. That convinced our friends to buy a couple of bottles. We bought two of the 'Maury Orange' labeled 'Ange d'Or' at 14.70€ for 500ml, old vine Grenache Blanc et Gris, 17%, fine as an aperitif or digestif and yes, it does have a citrus taste. Sorry, no website and the Facebook page is seldom updated.
DOMAINE DU DERNIER BASTION
And right across the main drag, another domaine. So much wine, so little time. A bit of hustling and bustling going on. The harvest is early this year. But always time for a tasting. Again, our friends bought a case and some. We settled for two bottles of 'Maury Grenat' at 12.00€ a bottle, 100% Grenache Noir, 15.5%, serve quite chilled, with the promise that it can be cellared for decades.
Thanks to various websites for allowing me - with or without their knowledge - to cadge pics. It's all in service to Bacchus...