For many years Nicolas Carmarans ran the delightful wine bar in Paris called Café de la Nouvelle Mairie. It, as its name suggests, is a meeting place where people go to sip on good wines, eat interesting food and solve the problems of the world.
He sold it recently to concentrate on his vineyard in the Aveyron in south west France where he makes stunningly delicious natural wines from local grape varieties such as Fer Servadou and Negret de Banhars.
Nicolas at the recent Dive Bouteille event in the Loire
The wines are released under the local IGP appellation of Aveyron (this is the new Indication Geographique Protegee which protects wines produced in the area).
In addition to his Mauvais Temps vineyard, Nicolas has recently bought a new house and built a new winemaking facility in a stunningly beautiful and very peaceful, remote area on the slopes above the Selves River. Hre he has also planted a new vineyard to Chenin Blanc and Fer Servadou.
Nicolas Carmarans IGP Aveyron Mauvais Temps Rouge 2014
The Nicolas Carmarans Mauvais Temps is a particular favourite. This light, but complex red wine from the Aveyron in central France is lively, exciting, delicious and leaves you wanting more!
The wine comprises three grape varieties, namely 40% Negret de Banhars, 50% Fer Servadou (known locally as Mansois) and 10% Cabernet Franc. The grapes undergo semi-carbonic maceration in 15 hectolitre conical tanks for 20 days and the juice is then transferred to old barriques for 12 months.
The vineyard is very steep with narrow terraces covered with native herbs in a stunning valley near the village of Campouriez.
Nicolas Carmarans IGP Aveyron Cuvée 12 2011
This wine is named after the départment that the wine comes from, namely Aveyron. In France, each départment has a unique number such as 84 for Vaucluse in Provence or 11 for the Aude in Languedoc. The number for Aveyron is 12.
This wine comprises Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc which were fermented in tanks and then the wine transferred to old barriques for 6 months prior to bottling around Christmas time.
Nicolas Carmarans IGP Aveyron Maximus Rouge 2013
The Nicolas Carmarans Maximus is a fresh, vibrant red wine that sees 16 days of carbonic maceration to ensure the freshness and flavour that you expect from a wine made using this process. The 2013 vintage is definitely the best yet! It is lower in alcohol, lighter, fresher and more elegant than before. But flavour has not been sacrificed.
The wine is made from Fer Servadou (also known as Mansois) which is local to the region around the Aveyron and then in an arc down to the area around the town of Gaillac which is just north of Toulouse.
This wine can be drunk as an aperitif or matched to quite a wide range of foods.
The famous Chambers Street Wines in New York said this about the Maximus in a recent newsletter:
Nicolas farms organically and practices minimal intervention in the cellar with native yeast fermentations, no temperature control, no sulfur, and no filtration. Maximus is an invigorating wine made from Fer Servadou, a native variety, and undergoes carbonic maceration, preserving the fresh fruit characteristics of the grape. It is deep and bloody on the nose with cranberry, blood orange, iron, tomato leaf, pink peppercorn, and smoke. Fresh, zippy, and lighter in body with high-toned red berry fruits and notes of turned earth and spice on the palate, this would make a wonderful companion to a wide range of foods and is great on its own.
Nicolas Carmarans IGP Aveyron Selves 2014
The Nicolas Carmarans Selves is produced from old vine Chenin Blanc plus some grapes from his newly-planted vineyard on the Selves River slopes that thrives in the cold valley near Campouriez in the Aveyron. This is an unbelievably beautiful wine for those who love the power and elegance of this much sought-after grape variety.
When we tried it this year during a lunch at chez Nicolas overlooking the beautiful river that meanders through the steep gorges here we were stunned again by the purity and elegance displayed by this wine.
Once again, here is what Chambers Street Wine in New York had to say about this vintage:
"A stand out during a recent tasting was Selves made from 100% Chenin Blanc from vines aged anywhere from 5-50 years old that are planted in granitic soils. The nose is very pretty with seashells, white flowers, a touch of smoke, and ripe tropical melon. On the palate it is lean and mineral, complete with mouth-coating, fleshy tropical fruit, a racy acidity, and beautiful tension. Chenin Blanc isn’t usually what comes to mind when thinking of Aveyron, but this is something special."
Nicolas Carmarans Vin de France l'Olto Rouge 2013
The Nicolas Carmarans l'Olto is a single varietal 100% Fer Servadou (known locally as Mansois). The vines that the grapes come from are reasonably old and thrive in clay soils. The grapes undergo semi-carbonic maceration in 15 hectolitre conical tanks for 20 days and are then transferred to old barriques for 12 months. Before bottling, the tank spends a day in the sun to give it more strength says Nicolas.
Nicolas Carmarans Vin de France Maximus de la Pascole
We have two vintages of the amazing wine produced by Nicolas and his friend Bruno Duchene (2013 and 2014). Bruno is imported to Australia by our colleauge Andrew Guard. We import the wines of Nicolas Carmarans from the Aveyron.
So, what happens when these two amazing winemakers get together and make a wine together?
The result is the magnums of Maximus de la Pascole of which both we and Andrew will have very limited quantities. Anyway we have a few of the magnums so we are listing them here.