Home > Good, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > A Refreshing Fortified Muscat

A Refreshing Fortified Muscat


Domaine Simon is an old estate dating to 1623 when Pierre Mercadier acquired the property.  In the 1960s Marie-Francoise and Henry Simon replanted the vineyard and developed the winery.  Today the 60 hectare domaine is run by their children Christine and Luc.  The domaine is located in the south of Saint-Chinian at an altitude of 280 meters where the soils are of clay, limestone, and schist. They produce both red and white wines but this post concerns their Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois.  This tiny appellation was created in 1949 and consists of some 195 hectares worked by one cooperative and eight domaines.  The wine may only be produced from Muscat petit grains matured to 252 g/L with a final alcohol content of 15-18%.

Last week I grabbed this bottle because of the bottle age and color.  I had never heard of this wine before so I emailed Jocelyn Cambier.  He commented that it was not so sweet and the unique soils give it savory, almost thyme-like flavors in the finish.  These are apt descriptions that I agree with.  It is the sort of wine you could end every hot summer evening with a glass.  This is drinking quite well right now and is perhaps best after one hour of air.  A great value at $20, I wish there were more.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

1996 Domaine Simon, Clos Bagatelle, Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois – $20
A Jocelyn Cambier selection imported by Franklin Selection Inc.  This wine is 100% Muscat petit grains sourced from 30-year-old vines at Clos Bagatelle.  The fruit is fermented in glass lined concrete tanks for approximately one week.  It undergoes mutage, fortification, bringing the alcohol from ~8% to 15%.  It is then aged on the fine lees in stainless steel for approximately one year.  Alcohol 15% vol.  It is a medium amber color looking of age.  The nose is light in strength with rich, low-lying aromas.  The gently ripe flavors are a bit savory and mix with black tea, dried florals, and thyme.  The ripe floral fruit is sweet at first then takes on good body before the sweet aftertaste where there is some warmth.  With air it takes on a touch of marmalade.  In the end this is a very refreshing and though I write sweet, it is a lighter style.  *** Now-2022.

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  1. October 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

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