The Zazous were part of a subculture in France during and after World War Two. They were young people who expressed their individuality by wearing garish clothing and listening to Jazz music. They rebelled against the conformity and conservatism imposed by the Nazis occupying France during the Second World War. Often men had long greased hair, oversized clothes and thick sole suede shoes while women wore jackets with extremely wide shoulders, short pleated skirts, shoulder length blonde curly hair styles, with sunglasses and bright red lipstick.
A rich Jazz scene sprang up in Montmartre in the inter-war years. Black Americans musicians felt freer in Paris than they did back home, and they contributed greatly to the Paris Jazz culture. The Zazous probably got their name from a line in a song ‘ Zah Zuh Zah’ by the black American jazz musician Cab Calloway.
Zazou, the wine, is a take on originality and non conformity to explore wine outside common boundaries.
The Minervois region is located in the South of France, it covers the Aude region and the North West part of the Herault region. The southern boundary runs between Narbonne and Carcassonne. Geographically it is comparable to a natural amphitheater orientated due south, 50 km wide and 30km North to South. The altitude varies between 50 meters above sea level near the Canal du Midi to 500 meters along the slopes of the ‘Montagne Noire’ (the Black Mountain) in the North.
With this exceptional altitude variation, the temperatures are also very changing from one area to the next, from 3 to 4 °Centigrade average difference, rainfall vary from 500 to 800mm per year, add geological differences, and the result is a wide variety of wines produced throughout the region.
Amongst the multitude of terroirs the following are identified for their individual terroir specificity; Canal du midi, Causses, Mourels, coteaux et contrefort, Trois vallées and Terrasses. The soils vary from limestone, sandstone (Canal du midi & Mourels), rolled pebbles/alluvial (Central Minervois), black schist ( North of the appellation in the Black Mountain area) and red marble (Causses).
Zazou comes from the Terraces area, this region is the most temperate in the Minervois with less influence from the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. The temperatures stay relatively high with cooler nights compared to the average and the rainfalls stay limited. The region is an intermediary with little excesses allowing the vines to grow in optimal conditions. The soil is made of limestone as a dominant component combined with patches of alluvial soil in between. This is the most temperate region in Minervois, where the typical Minervois’ harsh climatic conditions are less apparent. The wines are well balanced, rich in fruits and with marked tannins, polyphenols and deep hues.
With 4 500 hectares under vines, Minervois is one of the largest appellation from the Languedoc.
Minervois is most famous for its reds and the varietals are; Carignan, which musn’t be over 40% of the overall blend, Syrah and Mourvèdre must comprise at least 10% of the blend. The blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Lladoner-pelut (related to Grenache) must contribute to a minimum of 60% of the overall blend.