A few quick thoughts on the 2019 Chateau St-Jacques d’Albas Blanc from the Pays d’Oc.
In 2001, Englishman Graham Nutter purchased his 90-hectare estate in the Minervois region located in the hills around the famous walled city of Carcassonne.
Historically a notable stop along the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage trail, viticulture here dates back even further to pre-Roman times. During the 11th century, a chapel was erected on the estate which Nutter completed restorations of in 2014
Most of the property is left uncultivated to protect biodiversity with the Nutter family farming 26 hectares of vines organically under the Cousinié Protocol. In 2019, the vineyards were Ecocert certified.
The 2019 Albas is a 50/50 blend of Roussanne and Vermentino, with only 760 bottles produced.
Medium-plus intensity nose–apricots and golden delicious apples with some citrus notes around the edge. There is a very fresh floral vanilla note–more like the blossoms rather than Chard-like vanilla bean.
On the palate, the wine does feel very Chardonnay-like, though, with creamy medium-plus bodied weight and tree fruits. But no butter. This is much more textural and reminiscent of a white CdP. However, medium-plus acidity and a burst of citrus lemon keeps it very lively and fresh. Mouthwatering. Long finish introduces some herbal notes like mint and lemongrass.
Delicious wine. Its only sin is being so drinkable that the bottle gets finished off way too quickly. For around $20 USD, this wine would be an excellent value. However, you’re likely going to find it for much less. While Wine-Searcher currently doesn’t have this particular wine listed, the vast majority of Chateau St-Jacques d’Albas wines retail for less than $15–which is, frankly, insane for how good these are.
This may be a tough wine for Americans to find, though Chateau St-Jacques d’Albas does export around 20% of their production to the US. Still, it’s well worth the hunt.
Here’s Graham Nutter talking about the Cousinié Protocol & his estate.