Date added: 05/04/2014 Grange des Pères
There is a pocket of the Languedoc, close to Aniane, that is true viticultural heaven being home to both Mas de Daumas Gassac and the 10 golden hectares of Laurent Vaillé's Domaine de la Grange des Pères.
Tasting with Laurent, pipette in hand, in his cellar is almost a religious experience. He is a thinking man but a man of few words. He watches and listens intently as you taste capturing every reaction and nuance but, refreshingly, lets the wine do the talking. When he does speak, with a smile never far from his lips, you take notice.
His pedigree is impeccable having spent his early career learning from such masters as Jean-François Coche-Dury (Mersault), Gérard Chave (Hermitage) and Eloi Dürrbach (Trévallon, Provence). Indeed, he looked no further than these to source his ideal fruit - Syrah, Marsanne and Roussanne cuttings from Gérard Chave and his Cabernet from Trévallon.
His south-facing vines on glacial scree and limestone have low yields - usually 20-25 hectolitres per hectare. Annual production is around 2500-3000 cases. The white varietals are blended before being put into barrels for malolactic fermentation then aged in demi-muids. The red varietals are harvested and vinified separately and then aged in 228l barrels separately. The reds are blended after the wines are complete. Both the red and the white are Vins de Pays.
A true perfectionist, his wines are perfectly balanced and the epitome of finesse. In the red, 20% Cabernet is balanced by equal proportions of Syrah and Mourvèdre. The white is mainly Roussanne with 10% each of Marsanne and Chardonnay. If you haven't tasted both these yet, you don't know what you're missing!