Wines by Region / Southwest / Madiran / Domaine Capmartin
Domaine Capmartin - Madiran
In a way, this is a new domaine for us. But actually, at the same time it is one of our oldest domaines. Confusing, we know, but the story went that (being that I began my importing career as a Southwest specialist) the first container we ever brought in contained Domaine Capmartin Madiran. Unfortunately, the early 2000's saw the ugly brett monster rear its vile head within the winery and breathe its repulsive breath into their barrels. Fast-forward a dozen years: Simon Capmartin, who we first met when he was about 7, was poised to take over the domaine. The vines were now grown organically. The brett problem was, thankfully, a thing of the past. And we were back on track with Domaine Capmartin--this is a very good thing.
The domaine is housed in the former Convent of Maumusson-Laguian, surrounded by vineyards of old vine Tannat and with an imposing view of the Pyrenees.
These vines have been worked for centuries, but the history of Domaine Capmartin itself only opens in 1985, when Guy Capmartin decided to break off from the family estate and create his own domaine. Around 20 years later, in 2007, he became convinced that organic agriculture was the only way to go and converted Capmartin to organic and biodynamic farming. In 2013 after five years of dedicated and passionate learning, he was able to become certified, and the domaine has never looked back. When his son Simon took over soon after that, he showed the same unwavering commitment to organic and biodynamic work in the vineyards, and has continued in his father's footsteps while bringing a fresh young perspective into the domaine.
The vineyards are planted with Gros Manseng and Petit Courbu on the white side (under the uniquely named appellation of Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec), and mostly Tannat with some Cabernet Sauvignon on the red (Madiran AOP and IGP Côtes de Gascogne) side. Soils are clay-based with plenty of large stones, ideal for drainage and ripening. Being certified organic, the domaine never uses synthetic chemicals, but instead works with copper, sulfur and clay in moderate doses, to which they add an organic plant mixture (hortie, horsetail, comfrey), to stimulate the natural defenses of the plant.Grass is grown in between the vine to stimulate competition.
In the winery, only 70-hectoliter concrete vats are used, and the fact that they are open-top allows the pigeages to be extracted instead of the traditional pumping over or out, giving the wines a deep fruitiness and round, silky tannins--neither of which are common in wines from Tannat. Wines are raised in used 500-liter barrels, allowing a better balance between wood and wine, so as not to mask the unique characteristics of these grapes and their terroir.
What a pleasure to be working with Domaine Capmartin again, and watching Simon help the wines reach their full potential.
Domaine Capmartin Madiran "L'Instant"
This blend of 50% Tannat and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon is precise and pleasurable, a Madiran that you can serve by the glass given its oddly approachable character. The wine shows amazing value, but also the Madiran terroir without bacteriological interference.
Domaine Capmartin Madiran "Vieilles Vignes"
Made from organically grown grapes (80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) on vines over 60 years old, with some vines planted before phylloxera. Aged for 12 months in barrel and an additional 6 months in tank, the wine is bottled after a light filtration. From its intensely deep color come aromas of blackberry and cassis, along with some vanilla notes. The tannins are well-balanced by the richness of the fruit. Awesome with leg of lamb or a thick steak.
Domaine Capmartin Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec "A et E"
This wine (whose name is a play on “et cetera”) is made with 80% Gros Manseng and 20% Petit Courbu and aged in tank without sulfur. It has bright pineapple and citrus fruit, with an underlying streak of smokey minerality and plenty of acidity to cut through plates of fried fish grilled seafood.
Domaine Capmartin Tannat "Sans Soufre"
This is a wine made with 100% Tannat from the Madiran region but marked as Vin de France instead of Madiran. Made with a commitment to no additional sulfur, this wine appeals to the natural wine crowd or people that might have an aversion to Madiran because of its ferocious structure. The wine showcases the heady and often overlooked aromatics of Tannat. The rarely noticed, rarefied notes of wild blueberries, pluot and grenadine are prominent and eminently enjoyable with this lighter vin de soif take.
Domaine Capmartin IGP Côtes de Gascogne "Syrah de Simon"
This wine is actually a Vin de France coming from the IGP Côtes de Gascogne. It is made from 100% organically grown Syrah, all hand harvested. It undergoes a pre-fermentation maceration and then a long fermentation in open-top cement tanks, where it undergoes daily pigeage. It is then aged for 16 months in stainless steel tanks. A fun take from an interloper round these parts results in a juicy and fresh Syrah with wild purple bramble fruits, dried flowers and black pepper notes, ideal to enjoy with your next picnic.