2019 Elian Da Ros Côtes du Marmandais "Chante Coucou" Rouge, South West, France


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Chante Coucou is a structured blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah that is in many ways the “main wine” of the domaine. Each variety is vinified separately and aged separately in used barrels for 24 months before being blended together and allowed to rest “en masse” for 9 months before bottling. It’s a wine that takes time before release, and though not necessary, will amply reward anyone who can keep it for a few more years. As the varieties suggest, this is a wine that takes inspiration from Bordeaux, the Southwest, and beyond to create a uniquely masterful wine.


Historically, the region around Marmande has been more famous for tomatoes than for wine. Elian Da Ros established his eponymous domaine in 1999 with a vision to show that the Marmandais terroir could produce exceptional wines to rival those of their famous neighbors in Bordeaux. Despite its geographical proximity to Libourne, the Côtes du Marmandais belongs to the part of France called the Great Southwest, the land of incredible gastronomy, and what the British refer to as “charming” wines. As Elian puts it: “In the Southwest, we have to make wines twice as good at half the price…”

After working for five years with Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace, Elian returned to Cocumont in 1998 and constructed a simple winery, taking the daring step of being the first winemaker to produce and bottle his own wine under the Côtes du Marmandais appellation. At the time, the wines of the region were so poorly seen that the government was paying farmers to rip out their vines in order to limit production. This turned out to be quite a boon to Elian, since he was able to literally pick and choose the best terroir on the hills.

Several decades later, Elian Da Ros is now the standard-bearer of what remains a small appellation, and works side by side with his wife Sandrine Farrugia (who also makes a tiny amount of wine under her own label). They farm over 20 hectares of vines which are all now certified biodynamic, “the cherry on the cake” as Elian says.