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The Sundance Kid

If Languedoc-Rousillon is the wild west of French wine country, the Hautes Corbieres appellation, bang smack in the middle of it, would be Dodge City. And Maxime Magnon, who is part of a new, pioneering movement sweeping French viticulture, would be the Sundance Kid, complete with Robert Reford’s easygoing charm.

Magnon hails from Burgundy. He was not, however, born into a wine dynasty and after studying with Didier Barral in Faugeres and Jean Foillard in Morgon, he moved south to Corbieres where he bought some prime old vines, 50-to-100-year-old Grenache Gris, Macabou, Terret, Carignan and Cinsult vines that were languishing in abandoned plots. He originally rented the vines, but after years of hard work, saved enough to buy them. After signing the deed to 11 hectares, there was nothing left to buy a cellar and he was forced to rent an abandoned shed to make his wine. He still does. Magnon personally manages his land and his wine. Like other young vintners in France, he is completely dedicated to nature and its cycles and while some are saying that the techniques are innovative, even revolutionary, they really are just a return to the old ways of making wine, taking out all the chemicals and 20th century technology that went a long way to destroying the soil.

The Corbieres is an incredibly tough terrain, windswept, with some vineyards sitting at incredibly high altitudes. Historically, the land has been good for only two things: grapes and sheep…and that is what Magnon keeps. His vineyards are almost pure rock and the typical low-growing Mediterranean vegetation, bushy, fragrant herbs that grow such as juniper, thyme, rosemary and lavender, collectively known as garrigue.

Magnon’s Corbières “Rozeta” is a perfect reflection of these two terroirs: pure fruit and garrigue. It is also unique blend of Carignan and the numerous varietals dispersed among it, such as Grenache Gris, Macabou and Terret. The wine is just delicious. A beautiful shade of cranberry, it has delicate minerality, and is juicy and tangy as it hits the palate. Lots of strawberry notes and wildflowers hint to the garrigue. As it unfolds, it is earthy and dusky.

We suggest pairing it with roast meats.

2012 Corbieres Rouge "Rozeta" $48

2011 Corbieres Rouge "Campagnes" $51

2011 Corbieres Blanc $48