I accepted an offer from Benoît Amirault to taste his 2015 Les Malgagnes, still in élevage (which in this cuvée usually lasts a year), with the wide-eyed eagerness of a schoolboy who had snuck into the local fleapit to catch the just-released X-rated movie. After all, isn’t this one of the main reasons for visiting a vigneron? After checking out the vineyards and their soils, an essential part of any visit, there is no better way to bring the different facets of the visit together by tasting the final result.
Usually a taste of the newest vintage from vat requires nothing more than a proffered glass and a turn of the tap, or in the case of a tasting from barrel a skilfully employed pipette. So I was surprised to see Benoît scurry off into a dimly lit corner of the cellar, quickly returning with a stepladder and a long length of clear hosepipe. Positioning the ladder up against one of three giant amphorae he clambered up, and proceeded to feed the hosepipe through a vent in the top of the giant vessel. Then, with a little careful manipulation, he managed to extract enough to fill our glasses, with not a drop spilt in the process.
What’s all this? Benoît and not Yannick? Hosepipes replaced by pipettes? Amphorae and not barrels for our precious Les Malgagnes cuvee? Things have obviously moved on here since my last visit. As that was close to a decade ago, the evidence being the original publication date of this profile which was scribbled shortly afterwards, perhaps I should not be surprised that so much has changed.