Prieure Saint Sever - Avarus
Avarus 2016 - Muscat de Frontignan
A fortified wine "Vin Doux Naturel" produced with Muscat à Petits Grains grapes from old vines averageing 40+ years of age. The grapes are hand-picked at optimum maturity providing a yield of 28 hl/ha. Pre-fermentation skin macerations in stainless steel vats for 48 hours, this will extract colour and extra flavours. After 10 to 15 days of fermentations with indigenous yeasts the must is fortified with grape spirit (96% pure), the procedure is called “mutage” and it stops the fermentation. As per the appellation regulation, the added spirit cannot exceed 10% of the must’s volume and the finished wine must have 15% alcohol and 125 g/l of residual sugar. The wine is aged in french oak barrels for 6 months, the barrels are 1 and 2 years old and are topped up to prevent any oxidation.
PVins notes: Pale yellow in colour. Intense nose of Muscat grapes flavours as if freshly picked from the vine, hints of citrus and passion fruit. Full-bodied, powerful mouth-filling richness beautifully balanced by the natural acidity. On the palate the oak and added spirit are very well integrated, the fruity finish is long and complex. An open bottle may be kept for up to 2 weeks. Recommended temperature for service is 10°C to 12°C. The cellaring potential is up to 10 years depending on how you like to drink your Muscat de Frontigan knowing that the flavours will evolve with time.
Prieuré Saint Sever is located in the Languedoc region at Laurens a village within the Faugères appellation. Situated 20 kms north of Béziers at the foothills of the mountainous region of "l'Espinouse" the Mediterranean ocean is not far away at 32 kms. The Prieuré Saint Sever is an attractive old Roman chapel from the 11th Century and has been in the same family since 1872. Today Thierry Rodriguez, the grandson of a vigneron, managers the estate as owner and winemaker. In 1993 he created the brand Prieuré Saint Sever after having spent numerous years as a winemaker for other big houses. His aim has been to produce some of the best terroir driven wines in the region. This is achieved by using grapes from old vines producing low yields, which have been purchased from a reputable producer for each appellation that is produced under his own label. As Thierry says "my philosophy is based on producing little, but well". Due to his knowledge of the local terroirs and wine making techniques, combined with his passion to produce high quality wines, Thierry has become a renowned creator of Crus wines from this region.
One of the range of wines that Thierry Rodriguez produces is named AVARUS. The name is in honor of the Roman AVARUS that created the nearby town of Veyran and planted the first vines in the 1st century AD. To produce a high quality fortified "Vin Doux Naturel" (VDN) wine from the appellation Muscat de Frontignan under the label of Prieuré Saint Sever, Thierry Roddriguez has a contract with one of the best producers of the appellation, this enables him to be supplied with high quality grapes of Muscat à Petits Grains.
The vineyard is planted on the coastal fringe of the Mediterranean Sea at Frontignan, about 20 kms southwest of Montpellier. In the summer the mornings enjoy a humidity that is favourable to the ripening of the Muscat à Petits Grains grapes, the only grape allowed for the appellation Muscat de Frontigan. The soil is made up of "Frontignan Limestone" known as lacustrine limestone whose thickness in some areas can reach up to 20 metres in depth. The climate is Mediterranean with a maritime influence.
The Muscat à petits Grains vines that supply the grapes for the cuvée Avarus are at least 40 years old and represent an area of 2.20 ha. The grapes are hand-picked at optimum maturity, green harvesting and canopy management are implemented when necessary using sustainable farming methods.
The winemaking process in producing fortified Muscat de Frontignan starts with the hand-picking of the Muscat à Petits Grains at an optimum maturity providing a low yield of 28 hl/ha. The result in a high sugar concentration in the grapes representing at least 255 g/l. At the cellar the grapes are sorted, destemmed and gently pressed. The pre-fermentation skin macerations in stainless steel vats will last 48 hours at 9°C to 11°C, this will extract colour and extra flavours. After 10 to 15 days of fermentations at about 16°C with indigenous yeasts the must is fortified with grape spirit (96% pure). The procedure is called “mutage”, it stops the fermentation to keep some residual sugar and increase the alcohol content as a Vin Doux Naturel (VDN). As per the appellation regulation, the added spirit cannot exceed 10% of the must’s volume and the finished wine must have 15% alcohol and 125 g/l of residual sugar. The wine is then transfered in to french oak barrels for 6 months, the barrels are 1 and 2 years old and topping of the barrels is carried out to prevent any oxidation.
Links: Languedoc map