Domaine du Château d'Eau Pinot Noir 2005
The Domaine du Château d'Eau is an organic, estate bottled 100% Pinot Noir Vin de Pays
d'Oc produced by French grower Moillard, whose primary estates are in Burgundy. This
satellite domain is situated just southwest of the city of Béziers in the Languedoc. The
makers ferment the wine in stainless steel, aging about a fifth in oak, micro-oxygenating other
portions before final blending. The Pinot Noir is the newest entrant on this estate, which also
produces Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cinsault among the reds.
A clear, light purple, the $10 Pinot Noir brings an initial note of mineral earth to the nose with aromas of plum, cherry and violet.
The wine is dry on the palate, fairly light bodied, but with chewy tannins and mid-level acidity. The earth notes on the palate bring vegetal elements of mushroom and black olive. Plum, cherry and strawberry form the bulk of the red fruit, with help from orange rind, a sprinkle of white pepper, violet and some mountain laurel.
This is an enjoyable wine, easy to drink and yet incorporating some authentic Burgundian
seriousness despite its transplantation to the south of France. The earth and vegetal elements
seem a proper Burgundian touch, and yet the wine evinces both the stimulating tang and
softness in the mouth that have made Pinot Noir a grape in demand lately in the American
market. We well know that high demand has yielded lower end Pinot Noirs of questionable
pedigree, a fault not shared by this well-thought-out wine. Though the wine is young, it is
ready to enjoy now, although it could certainly benefit from a reasonable decanting.
French Vins de Pays are always worth a look.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman