Vintage: 2021

VintageProduct CodeFormatClosureAvailability
2021DH201B216 x 75Natural CorkAvailable
Vegetarian
Vegan
Sustainable
Producer

In the heart of the Languedoc’s Pic Saint-Loup appellation, Domaine de l’Hortus was established by Jean Orliac in the late 1970s. A keen rock climber and recent agricultural college graduate, Jean recognised the potential for growing quality grapes on the steep, limestone slopes of Mount Hortus. Fortunately, this land was unwanted and cheap, so Jean could purchase 50 hectares to grow vines. He spent the next 15 years understanding the complex soil structures of his domaine and carefully selecting suitable parcels for each grape variety. Domaine de l'Hortus’ released their first vintage in 1990. Over the years, this unique location persuaded Jean’s children, François, Yves and Martin Orliac, to return home and take over the business. Now over 40 years later, Domaine de l’Hortus comprises 80 hectarres of vines and is a flag-bearer for the Pic Saint-Loup appellation.

Since taking over, Jean’s children have introduced higher planting densities and sustainable practices in the vineyards of Domaine de l'Hortus. Viticulturist François uses cover crops and deep-rooting plants to break up the soil naturally, plus vegetal compost to boost soil quality. No pesticides or insecticides are required thanks to the moderate climate and surrounding rich biodiversity. Limestone terraces, planted on the lower slopes of Mount Hortus, reflect the heat and allow Mourvèdre to ripen well. In contrast, the cooler, north-east facing, steep slopes of neighbouring Mount Pic produce scented Syrah and bright Grenache, while the alluvial soils of the valley floor suit the white varieties.

The ‘Grand Cuvée’ Rouge is sourced from the mid-slope limestone terraces, which vary in elevation from 150-300 metres. This parcel benefits from the best water supply which, together with the limestone soils and elevation, allows for both homogenous maturity and excellent freshness. A blend of 65% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre and 5% Grenache is destemmed, crushed and vinified in vats before blending. The final wine is then aged in new, one and two-year-old, 225 and 400-litre oak casks for 12 months to lend added complexity.

The ‘Bergerie’ white and red are sourced from the valley floor and Mountain foothills respectively. These vines are less exposed to the elements than those on the higher terraces, causing the grapes to mature later and produce an excellent balance of acidity and aromatic complexity. The white blends Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Sauvignon Gris and is classified as ‘Vin de France’ since the Pic-Saint-Loup appellation only currently includes red and rosé wines. The grapes are harvested at night to retain maximum freshness, before being gently pressed and cold-settled before a three-to-four-week fermentation. After blending, the wine is aged in vats for four months before bottling. The limestone foothills and 150 – 200m elevation help the Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah grapes retain their excellent acidity and bright fruit expression, resulting in a vibrant red blend. These grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and then fermented in stainless-steel vats. The Grenache and Syrah are aged in vats for 12 months while the Mourvèdre is aged in two-year-old oak casks to lend additional weight to the blend.

Vineyards

The vineyards stretch across a deep valley in between two mountains: the Pic-Saint-Loup and the Hortus. Jean Orliac planted small plots, depending on the grape variety and exposure, on the slopes of both mountains. The Grand Cuvée is sourced from the higher mid-slopes. The limestone terraces of Mount Hortus reflect the heat and allow Mourvèdre to ripen well. Whereas the cooler north-east facing slopes of Mount Pic suit both Grenache and Syrah. The plots are surrounded by oak and pine tree forests which provide protection from the wind. Jean's children have implemented higher planting densities and follow sustainable practices in the vineyards. For example, no pesticides or insecticides are used and cover crops are planted to boost soil quality and improve biodiversity.

Vintage

The Domaine lost 50% of production in 2021 due to a severely damaging frost in April. The weather that followed was very cool and delayed ripening, and the summer was significantly cooler are more humid than usual. These cooler conditions translate into great freshness, aromatic complexity and vibrancy in the wines.

Vinification

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were destemmed and crushed. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks and lasted for 25-30 days. The free-run and press-wine were then blended together and underwent malolactic fermentation. The wines were then kept in stainless-steel tanks for six months then aged for 12 months in used oak barrels (225L and 400L) before the final blend was assembled and bottled.

Tasting Notes & Technical Details

This wine has an elegant nose of garrigue herbs and bright black cherry fruit. The vibrant palate displays generous red and black fruit with notes of cocoa and spices. Well-balanced with fine-grained tannins and lifted acidity, the persistent finish is long and layered.

Alcohol (ABV)

13.5%

Acidity

4.78 g/l

pH

3.7

Other wines from this producer

Producer
Wine
Product Code
Features
Style
Domaine de l'HortusBergerie de L'Hortus RougeDH202
Vegetarian
Vegan
Sustainable
R
Red
Factsheet
Bergerie de L'Hortus BlancDH203
Vegetarian
Vegan
Sustainable
W
White
Factsheet