Free Tasting | Saturday, May 18 | 3-5pm
To drink good wine is to be transported. It's about moving beyond the dull and familiar spaces of our lives, physically and otherwise. It's about lifting off. Like with travel, sometimes we explore new horizons and sometimes we simply reminisce about the places we love. And, like with travel, we take the good with the bad, always searching and always hoping that each next corner, each next glass will reveal something memorable.
Between those rare occasions of truly new or truly exquisite wines, there is an everyday sort of beauty that suffices. And for me, no wine quite captures that quality like the wines of southern France.
The word mas in French is something akin to the English terms farmhouse or ranch. But there's a little more to it. It's a dialectical term, a sort of colloquialism that refers not only to a structure or a piece of land, but a bucolic way of life in the South of France. Mas Champart, the eponymous wines of Isabelle and Matthieu Champart, are made with such a spirit.
As the story goes, Isabelle was a geographer living in Paris when she met Matthieu, the son of a long line of farmers in the Champagne region of the north. They married and moved South and took over her family's farm in the Languedoc-Roussillon town of Saint-Chinian in 1976. Knowing next to nothing about making wine, they sold off their grapes for twelve vintages straight. But when they began making and bottling their own wine in 1988, "they won almost instant acclaim, and have become the standard against which other producers in the appellation have been measured ever since," according to the Kermit Lynch website.
They're a dynamic duo (he among the vines, she in the cellar) of the likes that inspire wistful decisions. The kind of story and the kind of wine that makes me want to put down my laptop posthaste and whisk away to their humble doorstep, begging for just a few days under their shining sun. But for now, as the May rains pour down around Nashville, I'll have to settle for a glass of simple Champartian beauty and hope for a tomorrow that is even nearly as good.
Mas Champart Saint-Chinian rosé — $17 Mas Champart Pays d'Oc red — $18
PS: Only about 40-50 cases of the red was brought into the U.S. in total. We got eight of them. Similarly, the rosé is not something you'll find everywhere. But for us, it's a perennial favorite.