Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière is the domaine of Ivo Ferreira and Julie Brosselin who live in Montpeyroux in the Languedoc.
Julie Brosselin’s Languedoc domaine is quite new, although she has plenty of experience, having previously been a partner in Le Petit Domaine.
We met her because she and Ivo Ferreira from l’Escarpolette have recently become life partners and, once we tasted her own wines when we were tasting Ivo’s in July 2017, it took a few micro seconds to decide that we’d like to import hers as well.
Her wines generally are on the lighter side, with white wine mixed into some of the reds to make them more interesting and lighter to drink. But even her reds without the addition of white wine are still supple, light and delicious.
We must admit that we were at first attracted to Ivo’s wines through the stunning labels which feature Japanese calligraphy created for him by a friend who is a master of this art form.
And it is not surprising that he is turning out amazing wines when he has worked with such legends as Jean-Marc Brignot from the Jura (now working on a vineyard in Japan) and Jean-Pierre Amoreau from Bordeaux which explains why he is making an elegant old-vine Merlot called L’Enchanteur.
He only has about 5 hectares under vine and the soils are clay and limestone.
Some of the following wines were produced by either Julie or Ivo separately, but more often now they are a joint venture. They both work in the vineyards together rather than working on their separate patches.
They also work together in the cellar making the wines, but Ivo has the final say over his cuvées and Julie determines the final character for hers.
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière Vin de France Marée Basse 2020
Marée Basse is actually made with fruit from both Julie and Ivo’s vines. It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc (Julie) and Grenache Noir (Ivo) along with some Muscat which were macerated for 3 to 5 days. The Muscat was macerated separately because it ripened later than the two Grenache types.
The grapes were pressed after the maceration and the juice from each grape variety was transferred to the same wooden tank. The wine was matured for 5 months and then bottled in March.
It’s a light red but with enough structure to go well with food. It would be fine just to drink too!
This is a good example of how they combine the best properties of red grapes and white grapes to create delicious, easy drinking wines.
This will go very well with a range of food such as charcuterie, chicken dishes, sausages, vegetable dishes such as the delicious salad we tried in the days of Franklin in Hobart that was a composition of exciting organic vegetables served on a bed of cashew cream that we were encouraged to eat with our hands.
It will even enhance seafood dishes – or maybe we just think that because it has a picture of three fish on the label!
RRP: $36 (SOLD OUT)
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière On Verra La Mer
On Verra La Mer is a light, juicy Cinsault with lots of charm. It weighs in at only 12% alcohol meaning that it stands apart from the many strong, alcoholic wines that are produced in the Languedoc area.
We are really enjoying Cinsault-based wines from the Languedoc. This grape variety is better known as one of the supplementary grape varieties that is often used to make some of the best wines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone. However, the red wines from Châteauneuf are often quite heavy, whereas those made by Ivo and Julie have an almost ethereal lightness to them even when using Cinsault.
This wine is not powerful like those in the Rhone, it is much lighter and far more suitable for pairing with food. In fact, it is a perfect expression of a drinkable Cinsault wine.
This wine goes particularly well with charcuterie, braised dishes such as Osso Bucco and dishes cooked over fire.
But, in reality, it it so delicious that you can drink it with just about any food.
RRP: $42 for 2018 (SOLD OUT)
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière Rue de la Peste 2019
Rue de la Peste is a blend of Carignan and Syrah which is a fresh wine that is both fresh while having both depth and savoury concentration. While it clocks in at 14.5% alcohol it does not taste the slightest bit alcoholic and is surprising soft on the palate.
This wine has good structure but does not dominate food, but rather provides a savoury accompaniment. It is a perfect wine for those who want a bit more “heft” in their wines without resorting to highly tannic, aggresive wines.
Montpeyroux, where Julie lives, is quite close to Saint Chinian which is the “spiritual” home of the Carignan grape variety. It is in the rugged terrain around this area where the grape variety thrives.
We have a number of wines made from Carignan from this area and they are always a delight to drink. It is also a grape that sits well with others (as is the case with this wine) whether it be Syrah or Grenache Noir or Cinsault.
The Syrah gives it strength on the finish to ensure that this is a well-rounded wine which has been cleverly blended to bring out the best qualities of each of the varieties.
This is a wine for enjoying with food as it has structure, concentration and strength while still showing a freshness that makes it so appealing.
RRP: $48 (SOLD OUT)
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière Mata Hari 2016
Mata Hari, which is a macerated Grenache Blanc, is a wonderful example of a macerated wine.
We have great memories of drinking it while eating at the iconic Auberge de Chassignolles in the Auvergne in France. Anyone who follows our foodtourist Instagram account will know from our many visits to the Auberge that they have an excellent wine list including many wines that are difficult to find elsewhere. It matched the food we were served there very well.
The reason, of course, is that it is an orange wine and these invariably match very well with all types of food provided they haven’t been macerated for too long as this extracts too many harsh polyphenols.
The 2016 is a beautiful orange (skin maceration) wine with stunning control of the tannins and other polyphenols that are produced from the skin contact with the juice.
It has a limpid orange colour, beautiful phenolics and will match with just about any food you would want to eat!
RRP: $68 (SOLD OUT)
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière La Petite Pépée 2020
The La Petite Pépée is an interesting wine due to the winemaking technique used. The grape used is Grenache Noir, a red grape, but the wine is a white wine!
This technique relies on the fact that red grapes almost always have white juice except for a few cases called teinturier grapes where the flesh and the juice is red (Gamay de Bouze is an example).
The colour of most red grapes is entirely in the skins. Therefore if you crush non-teinturier red grapes carefully and immediately remove the skins from the juice it will be clear.
And this is what Ivo has done. He took a selection of red Grenache grapes and crushed them to produce a style of wine known in France as a Blanc de Noir.
There is also something that we love about the texture of wines made in this way. The different polyphenols in red grapes seem to provide drinkers with a different textural experience – one that we really like!
Only 10.5% in alcohol for the 2017 and 11% for the 2020.
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière Le Blanc 2020
Ivo has released the 2020 version of his electrifying orange wine called Le Blanc. It is made from Muscat à Petits Grains, Chardonnay and Grenache Blanc.
It had about 30 days of maceration before pressing so the tannins are very light, and with no added sulphites, is also very fresh and drinkable.
It definitely exhibited spicy notes for us such as cinnamon as well as some hazelnut nuances which is often produced by mild oxidative treatment.
There was also some fenugreek notes that signals the presence of sotolon which is a characteristic that we only find in naturally fermented wines.
While there has been some skin contact the wine is not the slightest bit tannic (such as we find in the skin contact wines from Friuli in Italy where the skins are left in contact for much longer), in fact it was a fresh, lively wine with a bright finish.
Overall, a very compelling and complex wine!
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière La Polonaise 2020
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière La Polonaise 2020 is a new wine for us. It is made from Chardonnay and Muscat à Petits Grains.
We were delighted when we first tried this wine a week or so after its long journey to Australia.
The wine has had a short maceration and the result is a beautifully formed wine with a lovely polyphenol underlay and a vibrant and energetic presence in the mouth.
We will add a full description once we have had the opportunity to taste it again!
RRP: $48 (SOLD OUT)
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière Celeste 2018
Ivo has made another orange wine this year, entirely from Muscat à Petits Grains, called Celeste. It’s arrived in a naked bottle without absolutely no label affixed but a beautiful ticket tied to the top with string.
We are currently working on a solution to make the information slightly more permanently attached to the bottle but we have tried it and it’s definitely a complex, fascinating wine. Slightly less juicy but more lifted than Le Blanc. Supplies are very limited as we were only given a small allocation of this wine.
RRP: $79 (SOLD OUT)
Ivo Ferreira L’Enchanteur 2013
This brooding beauty is made from 100% Merlot grapes picked from vines that are at least thirty years old, thriving in clay and gravel soils which only ever receive a very light ploughing. This wine exhibits firm tannins and has power and structure on the palate.
After the grapes were picked very early in the morning, they were placed in small crates to avoid crushing. The grapes were fully de-stemmed, then macerated for ten days without punching down or pumping over. The wine was fermented with natural yeasts in concrete tanks and then transferred to old Bordeaux oak barrels for ten months on lees with occasional battonage.
The wine is named after the legendary Merlin the Wizard.
Only 300 bottles of this wine were produced!
RRP: $54 (SOLD OUT)