This month the French Winophiles are exploring the tiny region of Maury, located within the largest wine region in France – the Languedoc-Rousillon. Our host this month is Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest, you can read her invite post here for a wonderful overview.
Despite being joined by hyphenation and government decree, the Languedoc-Roussillon, is really two separate regions, and Maury is within the Roussillon. Rousillon is known for organic farming practices, and sunshine. It borders Spain and the Mediterranean sea, and the Maury region is about 37 miles from the water, sitting on the north end of Roussillon. Previously within Catalonia, the entire region, including Maury, reflect the Catalan influence and culture.
Maury lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in the Agly Valley and is known for old vines, and slate, schist, and black marl soils. Historically, the region was known for vin doux naturel wines, which are fortified and sweet. I have yet to experience these wines but they are on my wine bucket list for sure.
In 2011, an entirely separate designation was created for the dry red wines of the region, the Maury Sec AOC. White and rose wines are produced from the region, however, they fall under the Côtes Catalanes IGP or Côtes du Roussillon Villages classification.
The Maury Sec wines must be made from 60-80% Grenache, with Syrah, Carignan and Mouvedre making up the balance. There is a fifth grape in the mix – Lledoner Pelut – which can be included up to 10%. The wines must be aged at least 6 months. Maury wines are known as rich, full bodied, and flavorful wines, with notes of garrigue.
Spreading over just 740 acres, there is not a lot of wine produced, let alone exported from Maury. In fact, I was unable to locate a bottle of Maury Sec AOC proper, so I took some liberties, detailed below.
Saint-Roch Chimères|Cotes du Roussillon Villages|15% ABV|$21.99
The Saint-Roch Chimères is not actually a Maury Sec AOC wine! Chateau Saint-Roch sits in the Agly Valley, at the foot of the Queribus Castle, with some of its vines located within the Maury Sec AOC and some just outside of it. This causes the wine to carry the Côtes du Roussillon Villages designation, rather than Maury Sec.
Chateau Saint-Roch is part of the Domain LaFage portfolio of wines, Jean Mark LaFage and his wife Elaine, represent the seventh generation of winemakers. Jean Mark grew up in Maury, having tended vines and made his first wine as a teenager. He could not pass up the chance to make the Saint-Roch property his own.
I said liberties, and there is one more. This wine is only 40% Grenache. The label lists the remaining composition at 30% Syrah and 30% Carignan and the website confirms that composition. Interestingly, I found two “Pro” wine reviews listing this wine at 70% Grenache, but I’m going with the producer and the label for accuracy here. As noted above, that is not enough Grenache to make it a Maury Sec AOC wine. So, that is 2 strikes against this wine, but it is the closest thing I could I find, and it was in no way a disappointment in taste, quality, or value.
This wine is incredibly complex with aromas of blackberry, earth, smoke, olive, licorice, and rock. As it opened up, cherry, and iron wafted up from the glass. On the palate, the tannins were big, but not grippy. The acidity was bright, making juicy an apt description. There was minerality and tobacco spice on the finish, with an overall impression of meatiness and dried fruit. All in all this wine hand a lot of bang for the buck at $21.99. If you’ve ever been in the “I’m really craving a beautiful, bold red wine” mood, then I think this wine will check the box for you.
A lentil walnut burger was the perfect pairing for this wine. The lentils and the walnuts were earthy and stood up to the wine well. I opted out of a bun, and added caramelized onions with just a tiny bit of ketchup (don’t judge) and grainy Dijon. These are my favorite veggie burger, not only because they are delicious, but because they hold their shape really well. I don’t usually add the recipe in my posts, but this is so easy that it felt wrong not to.
LENTIL WALNUT BURGERS
3 T olive oil
6 oz finely chopped mushrooms
2 cups cooked lentils, separated
1 cup chopped walnuts, separated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp herbs de Provence
salt and pepper to taste
Add 1T olive oil to a skillet on medium heat. Cook and stir the mushrooms until tender and liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a food processor.
Add 1 cup cooked lentils, 1/2 cup walnuts, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the food processor. Pulse until smooth.
In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and egg. Add the lentil mixture from the food processor, plus the other 1 cup of cooked lentils. Shape into 4 patties. Press the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts into the patties.
Heat 2T olive oil over medium heat and cook the patties, approximately 5 minutes on each side until heated through.
Please check out the rest of these delicious articles from other French #Winophiles:
- “Linguini with Tuna and White Beans and a Rose from Maury” written by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- “Clapassade + Chateau Saint Roch Chimeres 2016” from Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- “Sipping sweet Maury Vin Doux Naturel in strawberry season” from Linda, My Full Wine Glass
- “Coming home and finding a new home – the stories of two wines from Maury” as told by Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles
- “The Maury Region” from Cathie at Side Hustle Wino
- “Looking at the Sweeter Side of Maury” from Susannah from Avvinare
- “Maury Savory and Sweet” shared by Jeff at Food Wine Click!
- “Two Sides of Maury in Roussillon: Sweet and Dry” from Lynn at Savor the Harvest
- “A Search for Roussillon’s Maury #Winophiles” shared by Gwendolyn from Wine Predator