How Good is Ciry Cattaneo Les Hirondelles Minervois?
Wine Reviews of 2015 and 2016 Ciry Cattaneo Les Hirondelles Minervois, organic reds from Languedoc, France
Trained in Champagne and Bordeaux, Ciry is a consultant winemaker for several producers in his Languedoc area as well as on the international scene, with a passion for precise winemaking, organic viticulture and a pure expression of terroir in his wines.
Ciry Cattaneo’s production is made entirely of certified organic wines, certified by Ecocert.
Les Hirondelles is a wine made under the Minervois appellation, from a blend of a majority of Syrah (70%) with 30% Grenache Noir.
This is a rare wine made in very limited quantities, as 2,260 bottles of the latest 2016 vintage were produced only.
Selected grapes are hand-picked, with vineyards and different grape varieties vinified seperately.
After fermentation Les Hirondelles was aged for 12 months in 300-liter French oak barrels.
Fine below my reviews, ratings and tasting notes of the two vintages of Les Hirondelles that Ciry Cataneo has released so far, 2015 and 2016 vintages:
Wine Reviews & Ratings
2015 Ciry Cattaneo Les Hirondelles Minervois, Languedoc
Score: 93+/100 points
Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
An extremely intense and concentrated red color, dry and full-bodied, it boasts the generosity of ripe and slightly jammy dark berry flavors with a heap of vibrant spiciness.
Herbal and pungently expressing the garrigue (thyme and rosemary) notes of its Minervois Languedoc terroir, the opulence of its fruit character is complemented and deepened by dark oaky but well-integrated notes of cocoa, caramel, a hint of fire smoke and French-roast coffee.
Soft and smooth tannins on an oily texture, a good acidity for a generous red, evolve on the palate towards a juicy granulosity of its voluminous phenolics, for a salivating and juicy finish, typical of organic reds that genuinely express their origin.
Powerful and pungent, it yet tastes composed, delivering many deep layers of flavors with a relative finesse, a controlled and funneled expression of an immense complexity.
When to drink 2015 Les Hirondelles?
This is a wine that is already outstanding to drink now, featuring both the fruit freshness of its young age, and the first signs of evolution after two years in bottle or so. The obvious complexity the wine has acquired will certainly continue developing and deepening further for a solid 5 years. Should age and hold well for about 10 years (drink 2019-2025).
A wine build for tasty yet refined gastronomic dishes. A fine and herbal barbecue meat, seasoned with Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, rosemary or sage sound like the ideal match for such a spicy and herbal, full-of-tension red.
2015 Ciry Cattaneo Les Hirondelles Label Images
2016 Ciry Cattaneo Les Hirondelles Minervois, Languedoc
Score: 92-94/100 points
Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
An outstanding and grandly promising Languedoc wine filled with enormous concentrated goodness delivered in many layers of smooth refinement.
The liveliness of a relatively cool micro-climate in a generously sun-abundant area of the South of France. The best of both worlds, combined in a masterfully crafted wine, smoothened and augmented by obvious oaky notes, yet a respectful reflection of its terroir.
This is clearly a baby of a wine at this stage.
Excellent to taste and analyze now, but it will certainly develop much further and turn into an even more brilliant wine. Give it a year or two to settle in further, 10 to 15 if you’ve got the time.
It will easily withstand it and bloom over time. Drink 2020-2030.
Full Tasting Notes
This Minervois red comes in very dark and intense red color indeed, nearly black to the core, and featuring intense dark purple hues to the rim, clearly stating it promises to be a concentrated wine, and a young one at that.
The nose is powerfully fruity, filled with deep dark red berry notes. Blackberry and dark cherry aromas shine through as the dominant notes in an ocean of sweet spices, clove, nutmeg and black pepper, as well as dark caramel and elegant French vanilla tones.
It somewhat feels powerful to smell at, but more importantly, it’s profound. You can sense the wine has a lot to tell but that it is keeping it to itself for now at least as you smell it.
The palate strikes and surprises by it’s utter smoothness. This is a fairly big concentrated wine, with dense velvety tannins, a crisp acidity giving a nice liveliness to the dominant fresh red berry flavors, on a dry yet round oily body.
Yet, the texture feels soft, creamy and almost silky.
Again, the flavors are powerful and concentrated. Fresh berries as I said, but also touches of mixed berry jam, some plum and violet flower, marry complex and deep Christmas pudding spices, ginger, nutmeg and clove. Yet, these are all delivered with a sense of control and restraint, that the whole feels and taste elegant and refined.
The great balance between crispness and freshness of the red berry fruit character, and the opulence of much obviously-ripe fruity personality, is the outstanding feature here, together with the salty slightly savory feel to the finish.
A wine of terroir it is as well…