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2014 Saint-Chinian Blanc

Mas Champart

2014 Saint-Chinian <i>Blanc</i>  Mas Champart - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Saint-Chinian is an unforgiving place. In the summer, the sun beats down on the steep hillsides while violent winds thunder through, overpowering all but the most tenacious shrubbery. The soil, a mix of marl and limestone, is scattered with jagged rocks that are in no way welcoming. Amid all this desolation lies Mas Champart, where the charming Isabelle and Mathieu Champart have somehow coaxed this landscape into producing one of the most elegant white wines of the south of France. Generous yet restrained, it shows layers of creaminess and tender, honeyed fruit, with pretty floral tones leading to a clean minerally finish. It will warm you up on a cold winter day just as well as it refreshes in the heat of summer. Their passion to create a great dry white is inspiring.

Anthony Lynch

Vintage: 2014
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 50% Marsanne & Roussanne, 20% Grenache blanc, 15% Roussette, et al.
Appellation: Saint-Chinian
Country: France
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon
Producer: Mas Champart
Winemaker: Isabelle & Mathieu Champart
Vineyard: 20 years, 16 ha total
Soil: Marl, Limestone
Aging: Aged in barrel and tank, on fine lees, with light stirring, for 11 months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 14.5%

More from this Producer or Region

About Languedoc-Roussillon

Ask wine drinkers around the world, and the word “Languedoc” is sure to elicit mixed reactions. On the one hand, the region is still strongly tied to its past as a producer of cheap, insipid bulk wine in the eyes of many consumers. On the other hand, it is the source of countless great values providing affordable everyday pleasure, with an increasing number of higher-end wines capable of rivaling the best from other parts of France.

While there’s no denying the Languedoc’s checkered history, the last two decades have seen a noticeable shift to fine wine, with an emphasis on terroir. Ambitious growers have sought out vineyard sites with poor, well draining soils in hilly zones, curbed back on irrigation and the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and looked to balance traditional production methods with technological advancements to craft wines with elegance, balance, and a clear sense of place. Today, the overall quality and variety of wines being made in the Languedoc is as high as ever.

Shaped like a crescent hugging the Mediterranean coast, the region boasts an enormous variety of soil types and microclimates depending on elevation, exposition, and relative distance from the coastline and the cooler foothills farther inland. While the warm Mediterranean climate is conducive to the production of reds, there are world-class whites and rosés to be found as well, along with stunning dessert wines revered by connoisseurs for centuries.

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Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

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