Oupia, Château d'
- Minervois, Languedoc, France
Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this producer profile:
(Click here for more on Oupia on Louis/Dressner's website)
Everyone talks about the new quality of wines from the Languedoc. For us, this doesn't mean the ubiquitous varietal bottlings from irrigated flat vineyards but the wonderful wines coming from the best hillside vineyard sites in AOCs like Minervois, Corbières and Coteaux-du-Languedoc. The Château d'Oupia is one of the best.
André Iché inherited an impressive 13th century castle and a large estate in the barren Minervois region. Iché was never a member of his village coop, tended his very old vines and made his wines but sold everything in bulk to local négociants. One day, a Burgundian winemaker happened to be in Oupia, tasted Iché's wines, and was so enthused that he convinced Iché to bottle and market his production.
André expanded his vineyard holdings and started vinifying several cuvées of Minervois of his best grapes, the "Cuvée des Barons" and "Nobilis", aged in new oak barrels. He rebuilt a cellar, and, after much deliberation, bought and cleaned up some overgrown and steep terraces that had been abandoned since the late 19th century.
The "Minervois Tradition" is 50% Carignan (from vineyards up to 100 years old), 40% Syrah and 10% Grenache. It is aromatic, full and densely colored, with a long finish of dark fruits. The wine is elegant and balanced — it is both enjoyable to drink young and can age 5-7 years. "Cuvée des Barons" and "Nobilis" are 60% Syrah and 40% Carignan, from a selection of old vines in the best plots, and are aged in Bordeaux barriques for 20 months. They are slower to evolve than the "Tradition" and exhibit more elegance and restraint, but similar dark berries and spicy aromas.
Robert Parker has consistently praised this estate and rated the wine a "best buy." He wrote: "Château d'Oupia has produced the ideal bistro wine. Dark, ruby-colored, the wine is wonderfully clean and pure, with an exuberant personality, and gobs of rich, peppery, red and black fruit...Bravo to proprietor André Iché!"
André passed away in late 2007. His daugher, Marie-Pierre, currently runs the estate with the help of Fabrice Lopez and many old timers who know the land like the back of their hands.