Domaine du Mortier Brain de Folie Rouge


5 in stock

Vintage: 2021
Region: Loire Valley, France
Viticulture: Organic and Biodynamic
Grape varieties: Cabernet Franc and Grolleau

Domaine du Mortier Brain de Folie Rouge is carbonic red of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau. Crunchy and punchy, with wild strawberry, smoked herb, and mineral.

Song: Dusted by Belly

5 in stock

Save 10% when you buy six or more bottles (mix and match) 

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About Domaine du Mortier Brain de Folie Rouge

Domaine du Mortier Brain de Folie Rouge is carbonic red of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau. Grapes are hand-harvested, after which the whole bunches go into 50-hectoliter concrete tanks for carbonic maceration which takes about 14 days. They use a starter of lees from previous vintages to start the fermentation and line the bottom of the tank with boxes so the grapes are not in contact with any of the juice at the bottom. The wine stays in tanks for about 4 months until it is bottled with a bit of sulfur added.

About Domaine du Mortier

Call it driven by passion: Cyril and Fabien, the two brothers at the helm of Domaine du Mortier, aren’t originally from a winemaking family. But, when their parents bought a house with a small vineyard back in 1989, the then-teenagers fell in love with viticulture. So much so that they started a proper domain seven years later, naming it after a hamlet where the winery and vineyards are located, just west of the town of Bourgueil.

Over the years, they gradually increased the estate to its current 16 hectares. More than half of it lies in the popular Central-Loire Valley AOCs Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil (8ha) and Bourgueil (2ha), on diverse terroirs created by the famous river. These alluvial soils are perfect for Cabernet Franc, a grape that produces wines with typical notes of violets, dark berries, and white pepper along with soft tannins and a charming mineral crunch. When young, they are best drunk slightly chilled (true vins de plaisir, as the French say), but the older and more sophisticated cuvées offer a more layered experience, sometimes even with a wild, animal-like touch.

The Mortier guys make multiple cuvées that reflect their diversity of terroirs: there’s the supple and silky Les Sables, named after the sandy soils and made to be enjoyed while young; Les Graviers from a single, 30-year-old plot on gravel that can age beautifully; Les Pins, the only Bourgueil AOC that the Boisards make, which is pleasantly balanced between roundness and minerality thanks to its chalky terroir and old vines that the brothers are slowly rehabilitating. And finally, there’s Dionysos, the estate’s top cuvée from selected oldest plots (50yo +) on the locally specific tuffeau (chalk) terroir aged for about a year in barrel, which is as flamboyant and epicurean as its name suggests.

The remaining 6 hectares represent an experimental project of agroforestry in a nearby village called Brain sur Allonnes – hence the pun Brain de Folie. Un brin de folie is a French expression meaning “a touch of madness”, but what the brothers are doing there is way more beautiful than crazy: these young plots enjoy enormous biodiversity brought by the myriad of bushes and trees planted among and around the vines and the fauna that thrives in them. This project is a continuation of the brothers’ belief in a naturally balanced ecosystem that allows the vines to defend themselves against diseases and pests; when needed, they use organic and biodynamic preparations only (the domaine is certified organic since 1999 and practicing biodynamics since 2007). The result is a range of pleasurable wines that burst with life, made with locally typical grapes like Sauvignon, Chenin, Grolleau or, of course, Cabernet Franc.

All the wines are made in a similar way: harvested manually in small crates, gently sorted and (depending on the cuvée) destemmed, then fermented spontaneously and slowly in the naturally low temperature of their cellar. No magic powders are used, of course; the only addition is a little bit of mineral sulfur at bottling if needed.

Due to the Northern latitude, Domaine du Mortier’s vineyards unfortunately often fall victim to springtime frosts, a sudden wave of low nighttime temperatures occurring between late March / early May that can ravage the grower’s harvest. (We’ve just witnessed one in 2021, even hitting in unlikely places much further south.) After one such disastrous season in 2016, the brothers decided to make a “cuvée anti-frost”, as Fabien calls it, to make the most of their severely depleted yield that year. Using the small quantity of their own Cab Franc and Merlot grapes from their friends in Dordogne, it’s aptly called La P’tite Vadrouille (“a lil’ stroll”) and deserves a shout-out for both its chuggability and resilient attitude. When life gives you lemons, gotta make a (Cab Franc) lemonade, right?

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