There is nothing of the Immaculate Conception in the birth of a great wine. It doesn’t just happen. More often than not, behind the wine is the passion and devotion and of course hard work on the part the winemaker who takes what nature gives him and creates the final product…much like the sculptor with a piece of stone or a potter with clay.
Ludovic Engelvin is one such winemaker who has created a wine called Cru Elles: a play on words, Cru is French for growth. But in wine terms, it stands for terroir, or an area of land that lends certain idiosyncratic characteristics to what grows on it…in this case, grapes. Elles is French for females; in this case a reference to the vineyards that in French are feminine.
Cru Elles is a wonderful wine, delicious, smooth and affable on the palate but with character that makes it easy to sip as an aperitif or paired up with small plates such as the lamb sliders with cumin or the creamy morels on toast as served in Eli Zabar’s new wine bar on 91st Street and Madison Avenue.
The young man behind Cru Elles is Ludovic Engelvin, a part time winemaker who splits his week between the corkscrew and the pickaxe. Indeed, during the week he owns and runs a wine shop in the village of Souvignargues, due south east of Montpellier in the denomination of Languedoc-Rousillon. And at the weekends, he works his own vineyard, a hectar of old Grenache noir vines planted in 1955 mostly on clay limestone with a northern exposure.
Young Engelvin inherited his grandfather’s passion for wine and is one of the most promising winemakers in the region. In fact, Engelvin and a few others like him are leading a renaissance of wines from Languedoc Rousillon that have suffered from a lag in popularity and notoriety. Certainly Engelvin’s wines are putting the region back into the spotlight for quality wines.
The Domaine Ludovic Engelvin is completely biodynamic. The wine reflects the spirit of Languedoc Rousillon, filled with the all the emotion and sensitivity of this broad swathe of France that stretches from Montpellier to the border with Spain.
Cru Elles 2010