Domaine Capmartin is nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the village of Maumusson-Laguain, the heart of Madiran. The culture and unique style of Madiran is fascinating and the art of harnessing the rampant bully that is Tannat into something like a drinkable beast, albeit fighting all the way, is intriguing. For me Capmartin offer just the right amount of tension (good tension, not the ‘just about to get in a fight in the pub in Ebbw Vale’ sort of tension) in a
wine that is more traditionally known for its meaty, savoury full steam ahead character. Although to some extent this is another story of son entering the frame to give a new perspective to the wines, the simple fact is Guy Capmartin, who set up the estate in 1985 after leaving his own family domaine, is the figure behind the essence of these wines. He decided on organics in 2000, biodynamics in the 2010 and was fully certified for the ’13 vintage, believing this to be the correct way to draw the most from his land. It is the work and empathy with the
vineyards that always gave Capmartin’s wines a degree of grace in this surly world. The vineyards, 35 hectares in total (1700 ha exist in Madiran) are planted at high density on clay and limestone soils, with silica present in some parcels. Although Tannat, pruned to single cordon, is the main vine here Cabernet plays a part too, bringing some crunchy freshness to the younger cuvees. The fruit is destemmed and generally given a cold soak prior to ferment, which are natural and carried out in open topped concrete tanks specially built for the domaine. Old 500 litre oak is also used for elevage of the top cuvees, with some new oak for particular wines. The idea here is to create wines with Madiran character but to try and tame the tannins, round the wine so it is drinkable in youth as much as it is in old age.
Madiran Vieilles Vignes