Posts tagged: Cabernet

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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Love That #Cabernet Day

I’m wrapping up an excellent #Cabernet Day celebration and staring down a modest line of empties. Some of the greatest Cabs I’ve tasted in a while.

Live Party Cam

The live party cam is now turned off, but you can view the recording of it for posterity. I hope we didn’t say too many naughty things about Bordeaux Cabs. ;D

Part 1: Starts slow as we wind up to Cab Day with friends and family. We actually talk about a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with Cabernet. Such is life!

Part 2:

There’s actually a big dead spot in the middle when we ALL go down to visit the winery and taste my 2009 Cabernet brut de cuve. Oh well. The pitfalls of drinking and streaming.

We had a good turnout of winemakers, wine educators, wine journalists and all-around wine lovers. I met a man who remembered the people who owned my vineyard before the War of 39!!! How awesome is that?

Tonight was a huge opportunity for the Languedoc to show that we are capable of some epic Cabernets. I’m so happy that Rick Bakas was receptive to our being the only open-invitation French satellite for Cabernet Day. I also want to give props to Benajmin at the BIVB, Vicky Wine in Paris, and Kenny over in the Loire for throwing some sweet French Cab Day shindigs.

Languedoc Cabernet

I think that I make wine in a very unique region, the Atlantic Corridor of the Languedoc Roussillon where we can make some pretty stellar Cabernet and Merlot. Like Bordeaux or Napa but with EVEN MORE sunshine. Cabernet Day is a great opportunity to show that off.

Another great thing about this day is that it allows us to invite wine lovers into our every day lives.  I literally just emailed a bunch of people about an open house at the vineyard.  It was an effortless wine tasting.  People brought wines they were proud of.  Other people just came to discover some good Cabs.  But we all got to join together and drink some good wine.  It’s a far cry from the sort of wine foires we’re used to where you have to stand behind a table for ten hours and mindlessly pour for people.  Instead, we get to just enjoy some good wine in good company and hope that some of you enjoy tuning in.

The Internet allows for some wild new ways to communicate on wine and a region as diverse and varied as the Languedoc has everything to gain.

Alright, I’m gonna sign off because I’m rambling.

Tasting notes:

Figure Libre – Domaine Gayda, dark and brooding in the group.  Mostly Cab Franc and I think it shows that off.  Is cab franc cheating?  I think it’s fair game.   Sniffing the empty bottle: I get some real ripe pruney smells.  I miss the time that this bottle was full.

Cabernet Sauvignon Prestige 1999 – Domaine de Combelle, A real delight. Surprisingly bright for a wine that’s been cellared so long.  One of Benjamin Darnault‘s old projects.  Made to last. Sniffing the empty bottle: smells a bit older with some sousbois and forest floor beside that wonderful dark fruit.

Juliet – Chateau Le Bouis, Juliet goes with Romeo and they come in an adorable cigar box packaging and the bottle label kind of looks like a cigar wrapper.  Juliet is Cabernet Sauvignon and a beauty.  I tweeted to the effect that she is not a shy Claire Daines Juliet.  She is a bold, daring Juliet.  A far cry from the child usually portrayed in the play but capturing some of the whimsy of that legendary star crossed lover.  Sniffing the empty bottle: Much more delicate nose on the empty bottle.

Trah Lah Lah – O’Vineyards You know the policy. I don’t talk about my own wines here.

Proprietor’s Reserve – O’Vineyards

Proprietor’s Cab – O’Vineyards

O’Cabernet 2009 – O’Vineyards

LB – Domaine Baillat, I really like this big bold Cab that’s on dark fruit and berry and really shows some of the freshness that the region can show off.  Sniffing the empty bottle: I get more liquorice on the nose and almost a candied quality.

A – Auzias, I didn’t get to taste this one but it got opened and I love the label. Can’t find the empty either. I’ll get a second chance at this later!  Sorry for being a dope on the first go around.  I promise to taste it soon.

Good wines all around.  Thanks everybody for participating.

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