Southern Rhone / Tavel and Lirac / Domaine Amido
|Charles Neal Selections||
Charles Neal Selections © 2018
|Charles Neal Selections||
Located in Tavel but with some parcels in neighboring Lirac, Domaine Amido has always been a true family estate. Christian Amido, who sadly died from complications of a brain aneurysm, was a soft spoken man who had been under his doctor's care since I had gotten to know him in 2001. Against his doctor's orders, he frequently smoked while pulling samples to taste out of various casks. Ironically, in the three years previous to his death, he had completely renovated his chai, installing a new press and replacing his cement tanks with a fleet of stainless steel. His domaine was poised to move onto the next level.
But it was not to be with him at the helm. And so, the next generation at Domaine Amido arrived, including his daughters Nathalie and Dominique, and his granddaughter Amandine along with her winemaking husband Antoine Berthaud. Together they work the 27 hectares of vines the family owns.
As one of the few exported producers of Tavel rosé in the United States, Domaine Amido is proudly flying the flag. Their Les Amandines Tavel, made with a blend of mainly Grenache followed by Cinsault, Syrah and Clairette, comes from a number of different parcels of vineyard totaling 13 hectares. The soil for the Tavel vines is primarily two different types: galets roulés (red round rocks commonly found in Gigondas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and many of the Southern Rhône villages), and flat white stones comprised mainly of schist. The exposure of the vineyards is directly south, ensuring that the grapes get plenty of maturity.
The harvest is by hand, with sorting taking place in the vineyard. The grapes arrive in the winery and are made into rosé using the saignée method: the juice remains in contact with the skins for 24-to-36 hours, and is then bled off so that the deep red color remaining is completely natural. Fermentation is at a low temperature to preserve the subtlety and freshness of the aromas.
Lirac and Signargues
Domaine Amido also has vines just to the north in nearby Lirac. The clay soil atop the limestone slate (lauzes calcaires) contains large pebbles that provide excellent drainage. Their Liracs are made from 50-year-old Grenache vines in addition to Syrah and Mourvèdre parcels.
The domaine also has just over 5 hectares of vines in the village of Signargues, about half a dozen kilometers south of Tavel. There the soil resembles that of Lirac, with galets roulets and clay, and the vineyards have a southern exposure.
The family works all these parcels using the principles of lutte raisonée, believing these practices help promote healthier vines and therefore make better wines. Average yields are an extremely low 35 hl/ha, and harvest is half manual and half by machine. 100% of the grapes are destemmed and are then fermented in stainless steel. Some of the wines then go into 225-liter oak barrels for a maximum of 6 months, and all the wines are bottled after only a light filtration.
Domaine Amido Tavel “Les Amandines”
This is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah and 5% Clairette. It undergoes skin contact for 36 hours to extract maximum aromas. Afterwards it is fermented at a low temperature to preserve freshness to its red fruit aromas. Richly colored rosé with cherry, strawberry and a touch of almond flower flavors. Lots of freshness on the palate, and with enough body to match wonderfully with cold pork roast, chicken salad and most picnic fare. An excellent value
Domaine Amido Côtes du Rhône Villages-Signargues
The wine is made with 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, and aged in tank. It is forward and fruity, yet with and underlying seriousness that helps it to resemble the more expensive Lirac.
Domaine Amido Lirac “Les Mûres”
This wine is made from 50-year-old Grenache vines (50%) in addition to Mourvedre (30%) and Syrah (20%). It is aged in stainless steel tanks and sees no oak. This is a lovely balanced wine, showing raspberry and cherry notes, along with a touch of tobacco and spice. Once again, superb value!