Both Andy and I have been known to describe this wine on the floor of restaurants as "Bordeaux planted on Languedoc-Roussillon soils." The truth is it goes much deeper and transparent than that. As much as we invest in analysis of soil composition, barrel/fermentation vessel influence, destemmed or whole cluster pressing, maceration times, temperatures etc. etc. etc. The truth is, when a wine speaks to us, we know it. We know it in the same way that we like a particular song. We are simply enjoying, and there's just not enough room to get wrapped up in chord progressions and scale theory. They resonate in a similar fashion. The best wines provoke our attempts at understanding why we like them so much. This is one of those wines that we enjoy and not dissect. I'm certain these types of wines will never be summarized by tasting notes or other linguistic attempts. Let's just appreciate them for their underlying, philosophical expressions of humility and unity.
Notes from Mas de Daumas Gassac:
“Respect” If our philosophy had to be summarized in one word, then this would have to be it. We are motivated by the desire to produce authentic wines, that are a genuine reflection of our sublime, complex terroir. On this basis, we think of ourselves more as go-betweens than alchemists, with a desire to express the soul and flavors of the terroir in our wines. This is a huge task, of which we humbly try to be worthy every day that we spend in the vineyard and the winery; above all, our goal is to respect the wild splendor of the upper Gassac Valley. For this reason, we chose to create small areas of vines, that stand as clearings in the immense garrigue forest that dominates the landscape.
This respect is expressed at three levels:
Respect for the environment
We wanted to respect the wild beauty of the upper Gassac Valley and to avoid destroying the garrigue forest. We therefore chose to create small areas of vines, that stand as clearings in the immense garrigue forest that dominates the landscape. In total, we have more than 50 of these clearings, resulting in 50 hectares of vines among 1000 hectares of Mediterranean forest.
Respect for the complexity of the wines
The desire to respect the very essence of the terroir, to which our wines owe their identity, is an essential aspect of our work as winegrowers. The extreme complexity of Mas de Daumas Gassac’s wines, enriched by the innumerable scents of the Mediterranean shrubs that surround the “vineyard-clearings” (bay, thyme, rosemary, lavender, arbutus, rock rose, fennel, wild mint, lentiscus, etc.) constitutes a subtle alchemy that we make it our duty to respect and honor.
Respect for a natural, stable biotope
The huge garrigue forest that surrounds the Gassac Valley provides the right conditions for a variety of birds and insects in an ecosystem that functions perfectly, regulating, in the process, the numbers of predatory species. Our task is thus to respect this subtle balance, which contributes to the complexity of our wines, without making the slightest concession to chemical fertilizers or synthetic substances. The only fertilizer that we use on our soil is a compost made from Larzac sheep manure…"