Michel Chapoutier was the first wine producer to introduce Braille on its labels after a blind friend and singer, Gilbert Montagné, lamented in a television interview that he could not shop for wine without having someone accompany him. Knowing that the musician was a big fan of his Côtes-du-Rhône, Chapoutier decided to rectify the problem and wondered if his 40-year-old printing press could print Braille. After some research, he discovered that adding it to the labels was relatively simple. And so, on every Chapoutier label is written in Braille the appellation, name of the wine, vintage, and whether it is red or white.
However, it was not the Braille label that caught my eye in the wine store. It was, I admit, the shelf talker for Tournon Mathilda 2013 with a Wine Spectator rating of 91 points.
Stacks a rich parfait of spicy pear and grapefruit flavors over lively acidity, stretching the structure into a supple wrapping. Impressive for the purity and precision of the flavors. Viognier and Marsanne. Drink now through 2020.
~ Score: 91, Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, December 2014
Legendary French wine wizard and biodynamic trailblazer Michel Chapoutier is well-known, but who is Mathilda?
Mathilde is his (beautiful and smart) 24-year-old French daughter. And, like eight generations of her family before her, she is a winemaker. Her eponymous debut wine, a Provençal rosé, now in its second vintage has garnered rave reviews. (I will try to find it and do a post). Mathilde Chapoutier has studied business, finance, and economics in France and China, and is now the Chief of Strategy and Business Development for the Chapoutier group.
Tournon Mathilda hails from Chapoutier vineyards in the heart of the Victorian Pyrenees and Heathcote. Named after the Hermitage commune, the Tournon label is Michael Chapoutier’s distinctive French interpretation of Australian terroir.
Tournon Mathilda is a white wine blend of 85% Viognier and 15% Marsanne grapes. Michel Chapoutier believes that wine-makers should know how to cook, because he says wine and food make a beautiful marriage. With this philosophy in mind, his wines accentuate texture and flavour and downplay fruit. Tournon Mathilda 2013 is an elegant white that is lovely as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to shellfish, veal, chicken, or light game.
With their Braille labels, Chapoutier adds one more sensory element to their wine; the sense of touch. It engages those who understand this language of dots in a practical way, and it’s tactile mystery means that for the rest of us, running your fingers over the raised dots is irresistible.
Much like this wine.