In March of 2013, while traversing the Laguedoc-Rousillon region of France and exploring the exciting wines that are coming from this oft-neglected region with my wife Laure, I was exposed to the exciting world of French fortified muscat wines, known as vins doux naturels. These naturally sweet wines are crafted by halting active fermentations with the addition of distilled spirit.
It was on a drive only a few hours from my wife's home that we emerged at the top of a mountain, where shallow soils produce small vines with little vigor and beautiful white quartz lines the vineyards. Stopping into the co-op of this small AOC, St. Jean de Minervois, we tasted some of the most delicious sweet wines we had ever had. Although wines from Rivesaltes and Beaumes-de-Venise may be more widely known, it was St. Jean de Minervois that captured our attention with its dramatic scenery and quaint village tasting room. With Bellangelo already producing award winning Moscato, I was convinced at that moment that we develop our program of wines crafted in a vin doux naturel (VDN) style.
Welcom to our exciting VDN project at Bellangelo!
Our first VDN is made from Valvin Muscat, and finishes with a delightful sweetness and moderate alcohol. Registering at about 15% abv, it makes the perfect aperitif or after dinner dessert wine.
See this excellent Wine Enthusiast article for more information about the exciting world of VDN!