We are delighted that talented Languedoc producer, Philippe Formentin has agreed to supply us with his exceptional wines, including a ravishing Picpoul and some wonderful lightly textured red wines. His vines are all tended using organic and biodynamic principles.
The Picpoul is grown on a plot just near the village of Pinet which lies directly inland from the coastal village of Sète on the other side of the Etang du Thau. Philippe Formentin lives in the wine-obsessed town of Clermont l’Hérault.
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France Orangeade 2020
The name “Orangeade” is a light-hearted attempt to explain this wine. It is made by macerating the Marsanne (60%) and Grenache Blanc (40%) grape varieties which were destemmed and macerated for 15 days then aged in used wooden barrels for a period of 6 months without being topped up.
It is a lightly orange wine which we have found stands up quite well over a couple of days of being opened.
It is not aggressively tannic like some macerated wines. It will go with a wide variety of foods.
RRP: $64 (SOLD OUT)
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France l’Abricotier 2019
Philippe Formentin, the brains behind Opi d’Aqui, loves to experiment – he is always on a quest to make even more delicious, light, red wines as well as his beautiful range of whites. This wine is made from Grenache Noir (50%) which has undergone carbonic maceration whereas the remainder is a mix of Vermentino, Grenache Blanc and Syrah which also underwent carbonic maceration, before being aged in oak barrels for 6 months. The two batches were then combined and bottled.
The technique he used is best described as semi-carbonic. To make this wine, he destemmed one eight of the grapes and placed them in the bottom of the tank. He then placed whole bunches of the remaining grapes on top of the destemmed grapes. The grapes in the bottom are crushed by the weight of the bunches and they begin to ferment. the whole bunches do not. After fifteen days he pressed all the grapes and allowed the fermentation of the juice to finish.
The name of the cuvee, l’Abricotier, is the name of the vineyard where the grapes were picked. This is a light, delicious and very compelling wine that shows just what can be achieved by combining red and white juice in the right hands!
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France Poupoule 2020
Picpoul is a legendary grape variety of the area around the coastal town of Sète in the Languedoc. Here it is often teamed with oysters and other seafood dishes such as the amazing local version of the pie called Tielle de Poulpe Sètoise which is braised octopus served in a bread-dough pastry shaped almost like an Australian pie.
The Picpoul grapes were picked by hand from a 1 hectare plot near Pinet (limestone and clay terroir) and placed in small 10 kg baskets. The grapes were then direct pressed and the juice transferred to tanks for a period of 6 months. The wine was then bottled without filtration and without the addition of sulphites to ensure freshness.
This Picpoul is a lively, fresh and slightly acidic (in a good way) white wine that can be enjoyed year round.
We also should explain something about the name. The grape variety, as mentioned above is Picpoul (English) and Piquepoul (French). Philippe therefore pictured a poule (hen), picking at the wine! However, he was contacted by a local to say he had the rights to the name. Therefore, Poupoule became the name on the label.
RRP: $59 (SOLD OUT)
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France Mars Âne
Philippe, like many of his colleagues in the natural wine movement, cannot resist playing around with the names of his wines. This one is made using the Marsanne grape variety which he sources from a friend who grows grapes organically.
Obviously what he has done is a play on the name of the grape – the donkey (Âne) on Mars.
This is a fresh, lively wine with restrained acidity, excellent minerality and a great finish making it ideal for pairing with seafood, chicken, terrines and other foods.
The wine was fermented in a stainless steel tank and then was transferred to old wooden barrels for the malolactic fermentation.
RRP: $53 for 2018 (SOLD OUT)
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France L’Éléphant 2017
L’Éléphant Blanc is 100% Vermentino. The vines are young, only 5 years old, and the wine was briefly aged in old wood barrels.
If you can lust after vines then Philippe has lusted after these ever since they were planted, partly because he spent quite a lot of time making wine in Corsica and loves this grape.
The vines are actually owned by the same person who grows exclusively for him the Grenache used to make Massale and les Cliquets.
RRP: $68 (SOLD OUT)
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France Massale 2019
This light-red, smashable wine is made from three Grenache varieties (Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc) with the addition of 25% of Marsanne to add freshness.
Don’t judge this wine by the colour alone! Despite the light red colour, it has plenty of both texture and flavour. The four grape varieties provide an alluring complexity to this wine as well as a compelling texture. This is a perfect example of a wine that has been made with intelligence and skill to cater for the new wave of wine drinkers who want to be teased and excited by the wine, not assaulted!
The grapes have undergone cold carbonic maceration for 3 to 4 weeks before being transferred to stainless steel tanks for 6 months to produce a wine that will match with a wide range of foods or which can simply be sipped while sitting outside in the summer sun.
RRP: $69 (SOLD OUT)
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France Les Cliquets 2020
This wine has been made from 70% Grenache Noir which came from a small plot (0.8 hectares) near the town of Vendémian which lies approximately 16 kilometres south-east of Clermont-l’Hérault. The soils here are clay over limestone.
For this year, Philippe decided to add freshness to the wine by his normal technique of adding some white juice made from direct press Vermentino (30%).
The process was started using whole bunch, cold carbonic maceration for the Grenache for 3 weeks. It was then aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. It was bottled without fining or the addition of sulphites to preserve its freshness. It is a red wine, but very light in colour. It almost looks like a rosé in the glass, but it has more weight in the mouth. We love this wine!
Opi d’Aqui Vin de France Les Canons 2019
This is a new cuvee for Philippe made from 60% Syrah (from 30 year old vines which thrive in clay limestone soils near the village of Aspiran) which underwent carbonic maceration and 40% Cinsault (from some vines that he planted about 8 years ago and which are only a very short walk from Philippe’s winery) which he destemmed and which then underwent maceration for 15 days.
Incidentally, Aspiran is about 40 kilometres west of the city of Montpelier near Clermont-l’Hérault in the Languedoc region of France. It is also north-west of the pleasant seaside town of Sète.
The juice was then combined and matured in tank, to produce a light and lively red wine that is very gluggable!