Terrasses du Larzac wine producers (3): Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette, Domaine de la Sauvageonne, Vignes Oubliées

A selection of Terrasses du Larzac growers (3/3)

David Furer continues his article on the Languedoc region called Terrasses du Larzac with some of his favourite producers. The Terrasses du Larzac is a sub-region in the northern part of the Languedoc where you can find many high quality producers. Here is the third and last instalment of David’s selection of producers.

Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette

Delphine Rousseau, possessing a journo degree from KU (University of Kansas) in Lawrence, and her husband Julien Zernott arrived in 2003 from working at Henri Pellé in the Loire to create their domaine in Poujols with, like Goumard of Cal Demoura, the intention of creating wines of great potential. They were always passing a vineyard along the highway that they took to get to/from Languedoc in their search for land until once they were told 30 acres (12 ha) were available along the highway. They bought it without a cellar or equipment to start.

Delphine Rousseau, Domaine du Pas de l'Escalette

Delphine Rousseau, Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette, David Furer

Vineyards here are 1200-1400 ft. (370-430 m) at the foot of Larzac allowing diurnal swings which give an elegant touch to the maturity of l’Escalette wines. Terraced stone wall vineyards are part of the Grands Causses national park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. “With the available water we never suffer from hydric stress even in vintages like 2003 and 2009. We mature late and harvest in late September over a period of 10 days,” said Delphine.

Domaine duPas de l'Escalette

Domaine duPas de l’Escalette, copyright David Furer

70% of their 35 acres (14 ha) are Grenache and Carignan. Growing organically since the beginning, only certified from the 2012 vintage. Lots of oak of many sizes including fermentation trapezoids abound here, a few of them steel with two old small concretes cuves. The house style is restrained, very elegant, with fine extraction.

Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette
Le Champ de Peyrottes
34700 Poujols
Tél.: +33 4 67 96 13 42
www.pasdelescalette.com

Domaine de la Sauvageonne, Gérard Bertrand

Houston-based Alastair Pine oversees this relatively large brand, one spearheaded by former rugby star Gerard Bertrand, only a small part of why it is he has the greatest presence in the US of anyone in the greater Languedoc-Roussillon region. Bertrand’s father was a grower-negociant who died unexpectedly forcing the younger Bertrand to return to the village of St. André de Roquelongue to grow the business starting with the well-publicized 1995 purchase of the Cigalus estate.

Cedric Lecareux, Gerard Bertrand Domaine de la Sauvageonne

Cedric Lecareux, Gerard Bertrand Domaine de la Sauvageonne, copyright David Furer

I was shown around by estate manager Cédric Lecareux who oversees the 1100 acres (445 ha) of vines along with the produce of what accounts for another 4400 acres (1780 ha) they use from the region. And with this they are only the second largest private producer from Languedoc-Roussillon.

Domaine de la Sauvageonne, copyright David Furer

Domaine de la Sauvageonne

“Each vine, each plot is managed to produce the best, as if we only had 20 acres (8 ha) to work with.” Each parcel is dealt with on its own terms with different pruning and harvest procedures so as to engender the most from his full-time staff of 27. The Sauvageonne estate is heavy with sandstone rubble compacted with bits of schist and quartz at 700-1000 ft. (213-300 m), an inspiring sight. Sauvageonne’s 98 acres (40 ha) of vineyards is planted with Syrah and Grenache with small portions of Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. It was purchased in November 2011 so there hasn’t been a vintage produced by the Bertrand crew ready yet to write of. Sorry.

Domaine de la Sauvageonne, Gérard Bertrand
Route de Saint Privat
34700 St. Jean de la Blaquière
Tel.: +33 4 68 45 36 00
www.gerard-bertrand.com

Vignes Oubliées

A project of Jean-Baptiste Granier with the help of Olivier Jullien. The dominant grape here is Grenache, 60% of which comprises this lone blended wine, Carignan of an average age of 50 years, and some Syrah. ‘The Forgotten Vines’ were born in 2008 as a ‘négoce-vinificateur‘. It buys grapes from a small collective of farmers naturally working small vineyard parcels in the woods around St. Privat. One aim is to preserve high-altitude old vines. Growing organically, short pruning, and hand picking. Elévage is in 600l barrels representing the heart of the aging for 12 months followed by bottling.

Vignes Oubliées
3 Rue de la Fontaine
34700 St. Jean de la Blaquière
Tél.: +33 6 72 77 38 88
lesvignesoubliees.com

This is the fourth and last of four articles on the wines and wine producers in the Terrasses du Larzac. Read more here:

(*) This article is a modified version of a text that was originally written as a “postcard” feature for The Sommelier Journal in the USA. Republished with permission.

If you want to know more about the wines and wine producers in the Languedoc you can read BKWine’s Languedoc book with Britt and Per Karlsson. But unfortunately it is currently only available in Swedish.

Languedoc is one of the most exciting wine regions in France, full of young and entrepreneurial winemakers. If you want to experience it up-close, meet the winemakers, taste the excellent wines and enjoy the food you can come on a Languedoc wine tour with BKWine.

Travel to the world’s wine regions with the wine experts and the specialist in wine travel.

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  1. Terrasses du Larzac in the heart of the Languedoc wine region | BKWine Magazine |BKWine Magazine - April 3, 2014

    […] Part 4: Terrasses du Larzac wine producers (3): Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette, Domaine de la Sauvageonne, … […]

  2. Terrasses du Larzac wine producers (1): Mas des Chimères, Mas Conscience, La Pèira en Damaisèla, Le Clos du Serres | BKWine Magazine |BKWine Magazine - April 3, 2014

    […] Part 4: Terrasses du Larzac wine producers (3): Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette, Domaine de la Sauvageonne, … […]

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