Andy's birthday in Aupilhac (Photo credit: rsepulveda)
Français : Vignoble du mas de Daumas-Gassac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ever since the 80’s when I had my first sip of a Mas de Daumas Gassac from the 1985 vintage I knew I had found “my region” of love. Twenty two years later I was married in a vineyard owned by my dear friend Sylvain Fadat of Domaine d’Aupilhac. Sylvain and I have been friends since the mid 90s when after a few years of buying his wines from Kermit Lynch here in the USA, I took an impromptu trip to the Languedoc and met up with an ex-Pat, Brian Wilkie, who had moved to Gignac along with his wife, Patricia. I had developed an affinity for the wines from the Languedoc between my reading of Kermit’s inspiring writing in “Adventures Along The Wine Route” and the monthly newsletters which came from the Berkeley California wine shop and arrived hard copy in the U.S. mail.
Last night I pulled out two old Vin d’Pays that were purchased over ten years ago. The first was a delightful and downright stunning 2000 Mas Champart Vin D’Pays that is made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Syrah. It was full throttle and elegant at the same time. It had structure, balance and grace and was every bit as good as any California Cabernet Franc. The second red was a 1999 Domaine du Pujol Vin d’Pays red also. And like the Mas Champart, the Pujol is not made only from all Languedoc typical grapes. Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, there’s also some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that finds its way into the blend depending on the vintage.
Today, the wine's name has changed. For a while i was called Proteus vs. Vin D’Pays, and recently has been renamed Jazz, but its historical roots as a Vin D'Pays can’t be forgotten. Having been drinking both of these sturdy reds that have matured slowly for many years…both bottles were very fresh and lively, making it it safe to say that both producers, like my friend Sylvain, are really making wines in all price ranges that can stand the test of time.
These two Languedoc wines are examples of terroir and non-intervention which is evident when one visits either winery and sees nature at work. Wind swept vineyards off the beaten track. Old tractors and ancient vineyard and winemaker's tools. You don’t see massive edifice like wineries at either, nor at Aupilhac or La Roque. What you find in these wineries, unlike in Napa Valley are dedicated winemakers who love the soil, and love their customers. And, to those customers who let the wines grow up in the bottle, their love and appreciation for the wines will pay off many years later.