The wines of Canet-Valette are well-considered and streamlined. Peerlessly precise and detailed St. Chinians where the influence of the craftsman can be tasted down to the smallest aspect. Without feeling artificial and ‘oenological’, mind you: this is pure craftsmanship.
Marc Valette followed a similar trajectory as Richaud, but initially – with freshly inherited family vineyards – he sold his grapes to the cooperative. But also in has case he preferred processing his own grapes in his own cellar. In 1992 Valette produced his first own bottles. A few years later, he found his own style and vision. And Marc seriously invested in new facilities. The orchards were already processed without pesticides and organic certification followed in 1999.
Valette’s aim has always been to capture the rugged beauty of his landscape in wine that balances raw power and elegance. Originally he did this by betting on voluminous extract that took a long time to develop gracefulness. Very low yields (18 hl / ha), very late harvest and extremely long cuvaison and maturation resulted in densely packed and slightly angular wines that only showed their finesse after years.
Marc is now loosening the reins a bit more and the wines are more delicate. ‘Grand Cru’ ‘Maghani’ remains a beast of a wine, but the whole range is a lot lighter than before. Below are descriptions of the cuvées that are now available.
Valette’s drinker, a wonderfully fresh but soft blend of Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Delicately vinified and briefly ripened on stainless steel cuves, all fruit! Think of Beaujolais with an edge of pepper and garrigue, so don’t forget to cool it slightly. Now with a grilled chicken or vegetarian lentil dish, later with the BBQ.
Valette’s interpretation of the Mediterranean grapes Piquepoul and Bourboulenc. Anyone who only knows Piquepoul as a slender oyster wine will be well surprised here. Freshness and salty sea are still the common thread, but they get a surprising filling and length with them. Sunny but serious, distinctly mineral wine for refined fish dishes.
Beautiful Saint-Chinian, the most classic expression of the appellation in Marc’s range. Old sticks, a lot of pigeage and maturation in large wooden barrels give a lot of concentration and depth. So thick and heavy? NO. Pure finesse in the bottle. Dark and spicy on the nose, silky soft and precise on the palate. Elegance up to and including, as elegant as the letters on the label.
Difficult, all superlatives of refinement have already been used and we have yet to describe ‘Ivresse’.
A wine of extremes. Exceptionally low yield in the vineyard (18 hl / ha), long cuvaison and maturation. But also: 100% stainless steel, no wood in sight. Result? Crunchy, explosive, Jean-Philippe Padié-like fresh fruit with a thick velvety, almost luxurious exterior. Wow.