Domaine La Croix Gratiot

Languedoc, languedoc France

Owned by brothers Yves and Hugues Ricome for over 30 years, Domaine La Croix Gratiot covers 35 hectares in Montagnac in the Coteaux du Languedoc. After years of selling to the local co-operative, Yves started bottling his own wine in 2005 and bought his brother’s share of the domaine in 2009. His daughter Anaïs, who has worked in New Zealand with Matt Thomson, has now taken charge. She makes wonderfully pure, unoaked wines that reflect the potential of the local varieties with which she works.

Since 1996, the vineyards have been restructured and planted with the varieties best suited to the soil composition and microclimate. They are currently under organic conversion. The Picpoul grapes are grown on a chalky plateau, where cool maritime breezes help to moderate the climate and provide the ideal conditions for the development of the variety’s aromatic compounds and lively acidity. The Picpoul de Pinet is very expressive with a depth of pure stone fruit on the palate. Anaïs also makes a premium Picpoul de Pinet, ‘Bréchallune’, from selected parcels of vines. The wine is fermented in ceramic amphorae and aged on its lees after the fermentation is complete, adding a lovely texture and complexity to the finished wine. The ‘Désir Blanc’ is a harmonious blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne and a touch of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. It has perfumed aromatics with notes of bright stone fruit, a refreshing acidity and a long finish.

Unusually for this part of Southern France, the domaine produces an excellent Pinot Noir, ‘Les Zazous’, which is aromatic and elegant with floral notes of rose and violet, red cherries and a hint of spice. Made from 100% Syrah, the ‘Rouge Cerise’ undergoes a short maceration which produces a supple and fresh wine with a core of fragrant, pure red fruit. ‘Le Chant des Dolia’ Rouge is a blend of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. ‘Dolia’, the plural of the Latin word ‘dolium’, were large clay vessels (amphorae) used to store wine and oil in ancient Rome. The grapes are vinified separately and aged for 12 months. The Mourvèdre is aged in amphorae while the Syrah and Grenache are aged in 600 litre used oak barrels. The resulting wine boasts elegant layers of plush black fruit and black pepper spice underpinned by fresh acidity, refined tannins and persistent length.


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