Mas Coutelou - NV Kina Rouge

NV Kina Rouge

Languedoc, France

Jean Francois 'Jeff' Coutelou produces some of the finest quality and best value wines in the Languedoc. Located in the old winemaking village Puimisson, Mas Coutelou was established by Jeff's father in ’72 and has been organic since ’87 – before it was 'fashionable'. Today Jeff farms 14ha of vines and hundreds of olive trees (which protect his vines from neighbours' farming methods). His tiny-yielding vines are tended by hand, vinification is tailored to the season, native yeasts are only used and bottling is done without filtration and by gravity. Jean Francois makes wines full of vitality in a region where the vast majority of wines are prone to flatness and dreary viticultural continuity.

But enough about the wines. THE KINAS! This magical wine/herb/tonic is Jeff's 'kina' – a vermouth-ish beverage made from natural wine and plants (gentian, red quina, sweet and bitter orange peels, cola nuts, etc) macerated in wine brandy and wine. The aging in soléra takes place in freshly emptied cognac or armagnac barrels. To avoid having to add sugar, he uses wines that have not completely finished their fermentation and if necessary topped up with estate mistelles. It lights up in the mouth and blossoms like a Spring garden in your mouth. So, so, so, so, so tasty. Jazz up a negroni with it; or drink it on ice.