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  • Weather

    21° C Clear sky
  • Time

    12:27 PM
  • Wine average?

    89.3 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    380
  • Region Ranking?

    2
  • Popularity ranking?

    173

History

Way back in 780 CE, Charlemagne’s advisor, Saint Benedict of Aniane, founded the first vineyard in the Gassac valley. Indeed, there are good reasons to believe that he introduced Charlemagne to some of the valley’s early wines. Thus, in common with most truly great wines, the Daumas Gassac Grands Crus were born under the aegis of a prestigious Abbey.


1970: Whilst searching for a family home in the Hérault hinterland, Véronique and Aimé GUIBERT fell under the spell of an abandoned farmhouse nestling on the bend of a pine bordered lane. Owned by the DAUMAS family, it was in the heart of a splendid, unspoilt valley through which runs the GASSAC river. 
Strangers to the world of the vine, but entranced with ‘mother earth’ Aimé and Véronique debated what to grow : maize, olives, vines …? But they were fortunate in their fellow Aveyron friend, Professor Henri Enjalbert, a geologist specialising in the relationship between land and grapes and author of several works including a book on the ‘origin of quality’.

 

1971: Professor Enjalbert first visited Daumas Gassac. After only a day walking round the Domaine he raved about the ice age scree covered land likening it to the best soil in Burgundy’s Côtes d’Or. ‘It’s quite possible to make a Grand Cru here’ he told them. ‘But it would probably take 200 years for it to be recognized and accepted as such!!!’. 
Enjalbert’s words ‘Grand cru’ acted as though someone had thrown down a gauntlet for ethnologist and Irish specialist, Véronique, and Aimé, a tanner and glove maker. They were quick to pick it up. As Henri Enjalbert explained, the potential for an outstanding red wine was enhanced by underground cold water springs and the influence of the surrounding mountain which created a true micro-climate with a touch of humidity reminiscent of the Medoc.

1972: Planting of un-cloned Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The Guibert mantra is that uniformity is the enemy of quality. They tracked down some vines propagated from cuttings taken in some of the great Bordeaux properties during the 1930s & 1940s. And, as in the best Medoc chateaux, their choice was based on quality and diversity rather than on yield and disease resistance.

1972 - 1978: Construction of cellars in the foundations of the Gallo-Roman water mill. Cold water springs emanating from the Gassac mean the temperature remains cool and constant so they’re ideal for housing vats and barrels.


13 September 1978: First visit from Professor Emile Peynaud, a renowned œnologue and advisor to the Chateaux Margaux, Haut Brion, the Mission Haut Brion and La Lagune.

29 September 1978: Emile Peynaud kept in touch by telephone advising on the first vinification much as a school ma’am supervises a pupil ! Much later, when journalists asked the Professor why he bothered with an unknown Languedoc domaine when he was used to dealing with the world’s great vineyards, he replied : ‘I’ve advised the greatest producers in France, but never before been lucky enough to be present at the birth of a grand cru’.

1978: Production of the first Mas de Daumas Gassac red wine (80% Cabernet Sauvignon).

1980: Bottling of 17,866 bottles of Mas De Daumas Gassac 1978, under the denomination "vin de table de France" 
It seemed as though we were trying to sell the unsaleable! Dealers and agents refused to touch ‘a wine from the Languedoc, a region renowned for lousy quality wines, when we’ve clients ready to buy Bordeaux and Burgundies’. But we did sell 10,000 bottles thanks to family, friends, old colleagues and friendly restaurants.

October 1982:Recognition ! Gault et Millau described Mas de Daumas Gassac as ‘a Languedoc Château Lafite’

1986:First vinification of the white Daumas Gassac (4 main grapes : Viognier, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng and Chenin Blanc).

1987:Bottling of 2000 bottles of Daumas Gassac Blanc 1986

1991: Launch of Moulin de Gassac wines. Fiercely opposed to a policy of digging out vines from local hillsides, the Guibert family came to a very precise agreement first with the Cave de Villeveyrac, then with the one at Paulhan, that they would produce true Languedoc wines (in 1993, the Figaro, 80% Carignan, was named best 1993 wine in London). So we saved a chunk of Languedoc heritage !

1997:The first vin de Laurence. Inspired by the South African wine, Constance, and Hungarian Tokays.

2000: Samuel GUIBERT (oldest of 5 sons) joins the team

2001:A special wine Hommage to Emile Peynaud (100% Cabernet Sauvignon)

2002:Roman GUIBERT joins the team

2005:Rosé Frizant : Bleed from Cabernet Sauvignon

2006:Gaël GUIBERT joins the team

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Vineyards

The wine makers were anxious to conserve the wild beauty of the High Valley du Gassac, most especially the wild garrigue. That’s why the vines are planted in magical glades hidden in the dense, forest-like garrigue that dominates the countryside. Some 50 types of vine grow in these clearings - a total of 50 hectares.

Much of the incredible complexity of Daumas Gassac wines stems from the perfumes of the rich Mediterranean wild plants and herbs that surround the clearings : bay, thyme, rosemary, lavender, laburnum, fennel, wild mint, lentisc, strawberry trees...

 

Organic culture protects a whole ecosystem :Birds and insects thrive in the garrigue that covers the Gassac valley helping to keep pests at bay.Chemical fertilisers and synthetic matter have no place at Daumas Gassac ! We only use compost based on manure produced by ewes from the Larzac !

 

Daumas Gassac is first and foremost an outstandingly unusual terroir discovered in the 1970s by the great academic, Henry Enjalbert, then in the Chair of Geography at Bordeaux (he died in 1983 having completed his seminal work on Saint Emilion).

Under the thick garrigue scrub and shrubs covering the Arboussas hills, he found some 40 hectares (100 acres) of perfectly drained soil, poor in humus and vegetable matter, rich in mineral oxide (iron, copper, gold etc).

Daumas Gassac, le sol

Enjalbert compared the land to the best Burgundy terroirs in the Côte d’Or.

Formed from deposits carried in by the winds during the Riss, Mindel and Guntz glacial periods (ranging from 180,000 – 400,000 years ago) the terroir provides the three elements necessary for a Grand Cru:

 

 

 

  • Deep soil ensuring the vines’ roots delve deep to seek nourishment.
  • Perfectly drained soil ensuring vines’ roots are unaffected by humidity.
  • Poor soil meaning that vines have to struggle to survive, an effort which creates exceptionally fine aromas.

It’s not easy for a great terroir to give of its best in a very hot climate. The legendary great wines (Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy) were all conceived in northerly climes. The High Valley du Gassac, home to our outstanding terroir, is blessed with a cool micro-climate equivalent to a climatic altitude of some 500 metres (1650 ft).

At nightfall, the cold air from the Larzac (850 metres, 2790 ft) floods into the High Valley du Gassac, with the result that, even in the height of summer, the vineyards benefit from cool nights;

Daumas Gassac, le sol

The northern facing vineyards accentuate the beneficial effect of this cool micro climate by ensuring they are exposed to less direct sunshine during the hot summers. The micro-climate also means that the vines flower some three weeks later than the Languedoc average; that’s why our red grapes are harvested later.

 

This cool micro-climate is largely responsible for the outstanding complexity and finesse of Daumas Gassac wines, most especially the splendidly fine balance of outstanding wines’ "alcohol-polyphenol-acid" content.

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Winemaking

The cellars were formed in the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill; they now house 400 Merrain oak Bordeaux and Burgundy barrels; one in seven is replaced each year.

There are two cold water springs under the cellar’s floor, nature’s own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 – 10 days.This slow process means the complex savours have time to develop, something that doesn’t happen with modern high-tech fermentation.

 

Wisdom needs time to develop, so do a wealth of savours !

Modern, short, technical fermentation processes mean that the great wines of the past, when each vintage expressed its own distinct personality, will soon become a distant memory. We monitor how the the wines evolve as they age by putting aside a hundred or so bottles of each wine every year.

In that credit for discovering the terroir must go to Henry Enjalbert, it must be given in equal measure to Emile Peynaud for defining our vinification and maturing procedures.

Daumas-gassac, la viginfication du vin rouge

Medoc style vinification. Long (3 week) fermentation and maceration. 12 – 15 months maturing in 1 – 7 year old Burgundy and Bordeaux oak barrels, light fining with egg white, no filtering.

Although it’s great for laying down, it is splendid, fruity, well-balanced and delightful to drink as soon as it’s bottled and for three or four years afterwards. Of course, you must drink DAUMAS GASSAC while it’s young ! But, you should also lay down some bottles to mature and develop !

Some intriguing tertiary aromas start creeping in when the wine is about seven, which will peak in its twenty-fifth year.

How many red wines, from anywhere in the world, are still bright and full of fruit when they’re 21 ? Daumas Gassac is unique. Or very nearly !

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Inside information

MOULIN DE GASSAC : A selection from some of Languedoc’s best terroirs.

Daumas Gassac, Le moulinDisastrous Brussels subsidies meant that the best hillside vines were being dug out. It had to be stopped. For as the old vines disappeared, the typically Languedocien vineyards were being submerged in a wave of standardised mediocrity which was swamping the world wine markets at the end of the last century.

In 1991 the Guibert family, who were violently opposed to the digging out of the old vines, formed partnerships first with the vignerons of Villeveyrac then those of Puilacher. The agreement was very precise; the aim was to create wines true to the Languedoc.

 

The Moulin de Gassac range sprang from this battle and the partnership of two Languedoc villages, Puilacher near the river Herault, and Villeveyrac, to be found in a splendid amphitheatre overlooking the Mediterranean and the port of Sète. Both terroirs incarnate the character of the area, producing traditional wines drenched in the Languedoc sun.

Moulin de Gassac wines from mostly uncloned grapes produce a symphony of aromas which reflect the individuality of the 7000 small parcels of land in which they grow. Seven thousand patches of vines loved, cultivated and fussed over by 800 vignerons ! Truly, each sip of Moulin de Gassac wine wafts the soul of an ancient civilisation to your lips !

The Revue du Vin de France - February 1997 : "Never has there been anything to match this quality at such a reasonable price. The Vins Terrasses are a world apart from soulless international wines, they truly mirror the region."

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Mas de Daumas Gassac . In a tasting of  43 wines 

2013 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet / Pale lemon yellow. Lemons, vanilla, minerals, spices, some floral notes, brighter expression for Bâtard, lighter. Fresh acidity, fresh and fruity, apples and citrus with more subdued minerals beneath, detailed and long. 95p

13d 3h ago

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