A couple of years ago, my friend Paul introduced me to the wines of Domaine Viret. I could tell he was excited to talk about them and a bit hesitant. This is understandable because people in the wine industry can be circumspect at best and the premise behind Cosmoculture can be a little hard to swallow for some. He explained that the wine-makers at this property apply concepts of not only organic and biodynamic farming, but take it a step further into the unknown, unseen world of energy.
The incredibly beautiful property of Domaine Viret, known as Paradis is a natural sun-bowl, perfect for growing grapes. It has been farmed by the same family for five generations, one of whom was known as a water witch. He could divine where the underground water would be found and with the help of his family, he placed standing stones at key intersecting lines of water & energy. In addition, he told me that there was a huge crystal on a pillar bathed in water standing in the centre of the cellars. To anyone familiar with the concepts of Yoga, Chi-gong, Vaastu and Feng-Shui, this will not sound unusual. In the world of wine however, its extreme to say the least. With my history of practicing and teaching Yoga and Martial Arts, the concept washed over me like a cool, welcome wave.
At any rate, when Warren came in this week with the latest vintages of Domaine Viret currently available in Alberta, he was equally excited and I learned a little more about this tiny gem of wine production. For instance, when the main building was built, huge blocks of local stone were quarried, numbered and placed side by side in the finished building in order not to disturb the energy therein as much as possible. He also told me about the wines they make using roman style amphorae which have been made from the clay found in the vineyards and turned by a local artisan. Finally, he directed me to a great article on Domaine Viret by John Szabo, http://torontostandard.com/culture/szabo-cosmoculture/ which is well worth the read.
On to the wines! We tasted:
Domaine Viret Renaissance 2009
This is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignane and Mourvedre. It’s a deep garnet colour with a stinky, loud, funky, fruity, steely nose. Just so much going on in there! There are aromas of hot shoeing (for all you horse lovers) and dense black cherries. It has a slick, raw silk mouth-feel that carries a dark inky first impression. The wine is fresh, dry and fruity and stains the tongue, sinking in deep and staying there. It’s more delicious than its funky nose would lead you to believe. Beautiful and unique. +753738 $$
Domaine Viret Mariotis 2007
Dark velvet ruby blend of Grenache and Syrah. Dense, stinky nose of dirt and iodine, manure and anise. Intense, dry, tannic attack that blooms into bright fruit and mouth-watering acidity, all buoyed by wildly chewy tannins. The nose could be off-putting (not for some of us!) but then you’d miss out on the truly magical palate. Love it. +753737
Domaine Viret Dolia I Paradis 2010
This is one of the exciting Amphora wines, a cuvee of Carignane, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Dark purple ruby with a stony nose of coriander, fenugreek, iodine and dirt. It offers an earthy, dry, tannic opening with sweet underlying fruit. Inky and delicious, it spends six months in the amphorae mentioned above. The bottle comes with a glass closure which I love. This one is a must-try. +753739 $$$ Comes in 6 packs
For me, these wines are all wines that must be tasted to be believed. They have the lowest amount of sulpher-dioxide I know of and aside from being wildly delicious, many of my guests report having intense dream experiences after consuming them. There’s a reason people come back to try them again and again. These wines just feel good.