Nany Taverna of Mas de la Fée Nomène is the smallest and newest producer of Montpeyroux. I tasted her first wine at the Montpeyroux fête a couple of years ago and have been promising myself a cellar visit ever since, which finally happened earlier this autumn.
Nany explained how her husband, Yann, has 15 hectares in the Montpeyroux coop, which is one of the most successful cooperatives of the Midi, but she actually wanted to make some wine, while her husband is content to concentrate on his vines. So she has just 96 ares, not even a hectare, all in Montpeyroux, that she has either rented or bought. She ruefully admitted that eight years ago she barely knew what a vine was, and certainly knew absolutely nothing about making wine. She comes originally from Albi and was living in Montpellier when she met Yann, her second husband, and she has fifteen year old twins from a first marriage. Marc Escarmonde is her oenologist and guides her in the cellar. It is a complete change from her previous job as a nursery school teacher, and her original qualifications in commerce.
So she makes just one wine, from her small vineyard, which she sees as her garden, pour la passion. And Yann and the twins are thrilled. One of the twins particularly enjoys helping in the cellar and vineyard. 2012 was her very first vintage, a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache Noir, from vines that are 15 – 20 years old. And the name of the estate is a bit of a joke. As a child, she never behaved like the others, and was termed une petite phénomène.
She treated us to a mini vertical, beginning with 2014: - 12.00€
Usually a dominance of Carignan, as there is more of it in her vineyards. Deep colour; aged in vat. She has no oak barrels, and does not want any, as she seeks to emphasise the fruit in her vines. Each variety is fermented separately, blended in May and bottled at the end of June. All handpicked. Quite firm tannins. Slightly bitter dark chocolate notes. Hints of liquorice. Dry youthful finish. The vineyard is organic and she uses minimal SO2. The winemaking is quite simple, taking place in a small cellar attached to their house on the outskirts of Montpeyroux.
2013 – 12.00€
Quite a deep young colour. Quite firm solid nose. Sour cherry, griottes fruit. And some liquorice as well. Balanced of fruit and tannins, quite elegant, with a slightly rustic note from the Carignan.
Nicely rounded with supple tannins. Spicy red fruit and satisfying balanced. Has evolved very nicely. Attractive depth of flavours. A brilliant debut.
We talked about organic viticulture. The Montpeyroux coop now makes an organic cuvée, as there are two members who are organic. However, half of them are members of Terra Vitis, the organisation for lutte raisonée.
Nany wants to stay small; maybe she might produce 250 bottles of a single varietal, but maybe not. She enjoys working in the vineyards, looking after her vines, like a vegetable garden. Her annual yield is about 20 hl/ha. And she joking observed that she makes wine instead of jam from her garden. I enjoyed her spirit and her enthusiasm.
And our visit ended with a quick look at her small cellar. Some of the 2015 harvest was in a vat, the Carignan, looking remarkably like a large cauldron of blackcurrant jam. And the Syrah and Grenache were going to be picked in the following couple of days, as it happened, before the rain that came in the middle of September.