The looming Cop 26 meeting in Glasgow has raised awareness of environmentally friendly agricultural techniques, including winemaking.
One man who takes those matters seriously is Olivier Coste. His family has owned Domaine Montrose just outside Pezenas in the Languedoc region of France since 1701. He makes no secret of his pride for the local terroir and the wines it produces. However, while history and tradition matter, the future is of much greater importance to Olivier.
He takes special care to make exceptional wines. And, with an eye on the environmental impact of the production process, he does so in a manner that is carbon neutral. He achieves that by financing green projects in order to offset all of the carbon emissions generated during the winemaking.
Alongside that zero carbon approach, Olivier has adopted other measures that have a positive impact. When it comes to killing weeds, Domaine Montrose uses mechanical tools rather than chemical herbicides, there are no pesticides, and the fertiliser he applies is made from grape skins and seeds. In addition, he follows a regular tree planting programme to preserve the environment and uses lighter glass to create eco-friendly bottles.
He is equally meticulous in other aspects of his job. The vineyard’s harvest takes place at night to avoid oxidation. The grapes are destemmed then left to macerate for 24 hours. They are then pressed and fermented at low temperature to deliver a fresh flavour and aroma.
We are impressed by his caring and careful methods, but his wines also have to be good enough to make our list. And they certainly meet our exacting demands in terms of quality and value.
We are big fans of his rosé which is pale and fruity, with strawberry and blackberry flavours. Particularly refreshing on a warm summer’s evening, it’s also enjoyable if you’re sitting in front of the fire wistfully recalling that sun-filled holiday some time ago, or planning next year’s adventure.
The white is made with 90% Viognier grapes combined with small amounts of Grenache Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. The result is a light and smooth wine built around flavours of citrus and nuts that is great to drink on its own, or as a perfect match for fish and white meat.
Definitely worth a try, Coste’s wines are straightforward and beautifully made. And, of course, while they’re steeped in history, the vineyards also have a social awareness that means you can drink them guilt-free.