I’m kind of breaking the rules by reviewing this wine, because it goes for around $30. However, it only comes in magnums, and that’s two bottles-worth, so it really only costs around $15, so it works for me. Jean-Francois Coutelou — locally known as Jeff — has been making wines naturally since 1987 in the Herault region of the Languedoc. He farms biodynamically, and there’s no hanky panky in the winery — just natural yeasts, no filtration or fining, and minimal, if any, SO2 added. If he does add it, it’s only in bottling.
The Sauve de la Citerne (“saved from the tank”) is a wine Coutelou makes from juice that he doesn’t know what to do with, hence the name. It’s juice that he feels just isn’t quite good enough for his higher priced cuvees, so he uses it to make this fabulous value. Take it from me, there’s nothing inferior about this wine whatsoever. It’s a full-bodied blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache. Right away you’re in for a mouthful of blackberries and black raspberries, but then along comes a wave of bracing acidity and minerality. As time goes by it softens and there’s a nice creamy, velvety quality that takes over.
So the next time you have a gang over buy a bottle or two of this crowd pleaser. It’ll be gone before you get a chance to sit down and join your friends. And if you’re a retailer, you’ll appreciate the very cool label, too.