The Le Chat Noir Shiraz Viognier is sourced from the cool climate Aude Valley. The rich and full Shiraz is given softness and lift with the addition of a small amount of Viognier.
The Aude Valley, stretching between Carcassonne and the Pyrenees in extreme south of France is similar in climate and Limestone soil to the Loire Valley. The high altitude and cooling evening breezes creates wines with varietal character, acidity and freshness.
Totally de-stemmed and co-fermented with a long, cool maceration with regular pumping over and cap plunging. Maturation is primarily in stainless steel with roughly one third undergoes carbonic maceration aiding aromatics and fruit expression. A further third receives six month maturation in French oak barrels for greater complexity.
A wet spring, whilst raising concerns about vineyard health, ensured the vineyards were refreshed and well supplied with water. The summer was very dry with a period of high heat in August. The burst of summer heat was relatively short in duration and the vineyards were well prepared to handle the stress. The single most important factor in 2009 was the cool evenings (the difference between maximum and minimum temperature in Autumn was larger than in either 2008 or 2007) which ensured the fruit retained acidity and freshness.
Still quite tight and brooding with a depth of dark fruit aromas and spice. The palate is ripe and full with beautifully textured and flavoured berry fruit. A balanced and fruit focussed wine that finishes with soft tannins and a delicate Viognier lift.