Posts tagged: aimé guibert

Laurent Vaille – Grange des Peres

A friend of mine just posted this video interview at Grange des Peres, and it’s everything you’d expect. Laurent Vaillé is the enigmatic and reclusive winemaker at the heart of this property, and he would sooner kick you out of the tasting room than wax poetic about his wine.

This interview captures his disarming charm in the awkward silence after questions, in the quiet giggles, and so on. My kind of interview! Well done, Obiwine!  And I’m glad there’s some footage with the dad Alain too.  All very cool.

For the wine nerds

I often claim that I’m writing this blog for people who just like wine and don’t necessarily obsess over it.  So I’ll step back from that claim for a second and say that this next bit is very nerdy.  In my mind, there are several important Languedoc personalities around Aniane and two of them are pretty much direct neighbors.  There are certain overt similarities between their projects, and then they’re almost exact opposites in every other way imaginable.  And I am fascinated by this pair of great men.

From the beginning of the video, JJ Carré sets up how special Grange des Pères is, notably because its a Cabernet intensive wine.  Since Cabernet Sauvignon is not an indigenous grape varietal to the south of France, this choice forces Domaine de la Grange des Pères to abandon their French AOC status and instead be labeled as simple Vin de Table.  This is a truly rebellious move.

Vaillé alludes to his training at Trevallon, an estate in Provence that also works with Cabernet Sauvignon (with remarkable results!)  But whether we’re with his dad Alain Vaillé on the hilltop parcel of vines above Aniane or down by the irrigation canal with Laurent, I can’t help but notice the elephant in the vineyard.  The subject nobody is talking about.

The big reference here that nobody seems to be mentioning is that the direct neighbor of Grange des Peres also planted Cabernet Sauvignon in this area (in the 70s) and also makes an expensive vin de table with it.  Now, having tasted both of these properties, I assure you that they are very very different.  And I’m only bringing this up because there’s such a charming and unlikely dichotomy formed by these two neighbors.  A dichotomy which adds a lot of color to the region.

Laurent Vaillé is a quiet man, his answers to every question seem restrained and shy.  He’s known for being a bit reclusive and journalists often have a hard time getting in touch.  He’s not afraid to say no to a visit even if it’s a critic or other emblematic wine figure.  In his first vintage, the 15 hectare property only produced a few thousand bottles.  Grange des Peres is a remarkable wine that (whenever I taste it) almost always seems a year or two older than it says on the label (perhaps a sign of that elegance and maturity he refers to during the interview!).  And Laurent’s only forty something but he seems like a very sage winemaker with a lot of patience and an ability to wait quietly.

A few minutes away, you’ll find Aimé Guibert at the Mas de Daumas Gassac.  This neighbor is also making a top quality wine with its own style and flavor.  But even when I’m drinking 8 or 9 year old vintages from Daumas Gassac, I always feel like I’m drinking his wines too young.  And the man seems that way to me too.  He’s 80-something, but he’s still incredibly alert and bouncing off the walls at times.  His demeanor is so comically opposed to Vaillé’s that I can’t help but think about them in a room together.  Guibert is boisterous and press-savvy, and he always seems to have the right answer on the tip of his tongue.  Vaillé seems quiet and withdrawn, uncertain that any of the questions even have “right answers”.  They’re really wonderfully different.

And yet they both have this sort of steadfast, rebellious defiance about them.

Anyway, this has been a tangent, but I really hope it’s a fun insight into Aniane.  You have these two winemakers who both seek out excellence.  And they have totally different personalities.  But they’re both sort of infamous for being rebels.  It’s wacky.  I hope neither of them gets pissed off by this write-up because I like what they’ve done and what they continue to do for the region.  But even if it does irk one or both of them, I have my rebellious side to think about too. ;D

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Visiting Mas Daumas Gassac with Aimé Guibert – Love that Languedoc Ep 18

Thanks for all your patience, Anglophones. I finally edited down the video from my visit with Aime Guibert AND I subtitled it. Some of the subtitles pass by a little bit too quickly, but you can use that pause button to your heart’s content (or watch it a hundred times). I think Aimé is just a fascinating character and I hope the edited down version retains all the charm, humor and tragedy of the original unedited footage of our Daumas Gassac tasting.

You should also note that I take some liberties in the translations. “Ils n’en ont rien à foutre” is somewhere between “They don’t give a shit” and “They don’t give a fuck.” I went with my gut, and my gut was being especially lewd.

Now, our car ride with Aimé was very fun, but we also had a treat waiting for us in the winery where we did a tasting of three Mas Daumas Gassac wines. These are wines that are very hard to taste so young, but very interesting. Over all, I was impressed but I really want to see where the wines go in ten years or so. I guess that’s kind of the magic of Daumas Gassac. Aimé Guibert was one of the first pioneers with the guts to say he could make a vin de pays de l’Herault that was good enough to make people cellar it for at least a decade. Enjoy!

The wines:
Mas Daumas Gassac Rosé Frizant 2008, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault
Mas Daumas Gassac Blanc 2008, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault
Mas Daumas Gassac Rouge 2007, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault

A note on pricing: Gassac is suprisingly affordable if you buy it ahead of time. They make amazing prices for their futures. Whereas, waiting for it to appear in stores, you’ll typically pay upwards of 80 Euros. At the futures prices, you are getting amazing bang for your buck. Another thing… I got some sticker shock from that bubbly rosé at 12€. Not unreasonably priced, but it’s a playful wine and a serious price. Surprised me a tiny bit. But the red and white at the futures prices! Those are awesome.

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Aimé Guibert présente Mas Daumas Gassac en voiture – Languedoc, je t’aime Episode 13

Mercredi, j’ai eu l’opportunité rarissime de visiter le Mas de Daumas Gassac guidé par le fondateur lui même, Aimé Guibert.  Un homme à l’esprit vif et combatif, il se régale de veiller sur son vignoble “anti économique” qui “n’obéit à aucune règle moderne.”

Aimé parle de la presse mondiale

Aimé parle de la presse mondiale

Merci d’avoir patienté  quelques jours. J’ai le plaisir de vous présenter l’épisode inédit comme toujours. 15 minutes en voiture avec Aimé Guibert.  Je m’excuse pour la cinématographie qui n’est pas idéale (Je suis loin d’être Jonathan Nossiter), mais vous pouvez au moins suivre les anecdotes, les histoires, et la philosophie de ce pionnier du Languedoc.  Je téléchargerai une version éditée et plus courte bientôt.  Nous avons ensuite dégusté quelques vins au Domaine dont les vidéos seront sur les prochains épisodes.

Pour l’instant, appréciez ce petit tournage du Domaine en voiture. Un domaine magnifique et unique où on trouve à 300 mètres d’altitude des douzaines de variétés de vignes diverses, un véritable musée de la vigne nichée dans l’integralité d’une forêt, loin des monocultures qu’on retrouve sur beaucoup de propriétés modernes.

Et remarquez aussi le petit défi à la fin! Est-ce que le monde peut changer? Si vous êtes là, ca veut peut-être dire OUI!

–edit– Trouvez endessous la version plus courtes et soustitré:

–In English–
The other day, I went on a very special visit of Mas Daumas Gassac guided by the founder himself Aimé Guibert.  He was as energetic, captivating and outspoken as people say.  This man is a very real legend, one of the first pioneers for quality wines in the Languedoc.  Everybody has been waiting patiently for me to upload video footage of my visit so I’m going to upload an unedited chunk of footage from a private drive through the vines with Aimé.

Nossiter, I am not.  So a large portion of the footage is just staring at the car’s dashboard.  I’ll put up an edited version later on and some wine tastings too, but I don’t want to rush that.  Here’s the honest to goodness car ride with a living legend, founder of Mas Daumas Gassac “Le Grand Nom du Languedoc”.

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