Mas Cal Demoura

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In 1970, when there was a great exodus from the Languedoc due to a loss of faith in its vineyards to provide a sufficient living, Jean-Pierre Jullien named his domaine “Cal Demoura”, which in Occitan means “one must remain”. He came from a long line of vignerons and, at that time, he followed most of his colleagues as they closed their caves and attempted to survive by participating in the local cooperative. Jean-Pierre’s son, Olivier, refused to follow the path of the cooperative and established his own domaine, the “Mas Jullien”, in 1985. Jean-Pierre, in a reversal of the usual process, took the example of his son, resigned from the cooperative and recreated his own estate in 1993. He sold off a portion of his vineyards and retained only the best 5 hectares. With these, he began making a wine of regal dimensions that helped to lead the qualitative revolution in the Languedoc. In 2004, Jean-Pierre retired, selling the estate to its current owners, Isabelle and Vincent Goumard. Seduced by the estate’s winemaking philosophy, as well as by the potential of its terroir, this young couple, having studied oenology in Dijon, spent a year working side by side with Jean-Pierre in the vineyard and in the cellar, before taking full control of the estate. Having worked with Jean-Pierre Jullien for the entirety of his career as producer and now having worked with Isabelle and Vincent from the very outset of theirs, we can happily attest to the fact that this transition, from Jullien to Goumard, is one of the most felicitous in our experience.

The estate now encompasses eleven hectares of vineyards located in the village of Jonquières and in the neighboring community of Saint Felix, approximately 45 minutes (30 kilometers) northwest of Montpellier, just south of Clermont l’Hérault. They are situated in the heart of the Terrasses du Larzac, an independent subdivision within the Coteaux du Languedoc AOC that was recognized in 2004 for its distinctive ability to render wines of exceptional balance and depth due to the special micro-climate in which it is located. The vineyards feature five red grape varieties in approximately equal parts: Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault. A small group of parcels are planted to a half-dozen white varieties (Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Muscat and Petit Manseng) to produce a rather remarkable Vin de Pays de l’Herault Blanc. The average age of the vines is 30 years (as of 2010) with significant parcels of Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan being considerably older. The soil is very dry and stony with a deep but porous topsoil. The various parcels of the domaine are distributed over a terroir that is both geographically and climatically diverse. These variations, combined with an assortment of different cépages, result in wines of complexity and finesse. The Terrasses du Larzac also benefits from the cooling winds that come both from the Mediterranean (to the south) and from the mountains to the north of Monpeyroux. This results in a long growing season that preserves essential acidity and yields juice of high complexity.

Isabelle and Vincent are committed to producing wines that respect the environment from which they come, and express both their terroir, and the personality of the winemaker. In the vineyard, the Goumards treat organically and harvest manually. Harvest levels are approximately 30 hectoliters per hectare and sometimes considerably less. There is a double selection done at harvest to secure only the ripest, healthiest grapes, once in the vineyard and a second time in the chai before pressing.

In the cellar, they practice a classic vinification. Each grape variety is harvested and vinified separately. The initial fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and in December the wines are then racked into barrel (mostly of the demi-muid size [500 liters] supplemented with small barrique). After one year of aging, a selection is made and the assemblage is determined. The wines then are given an extra six months to find their identity before being bottled without fining or filtration. Production is approximately 40,000 bottles per year.

Mas-Cal-Demoura-LEtincelle L’Etincelle Vin de Pays de l’Hérault Blanc First produced from newly-acquired parcels in 2004, this white is a blend of grapes in which Chenin plays a principal role. The Chenin gives exceptional freshness, and Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Petit Mansang and Muscat round out the blend, adding complexity and balance. Low yields and rigorous selection in the vineyard, followed by careful vinification result in an intense and racy wine, fully expressive of its terroir. Interestingly, historical research done by the Goumards reveals that Chenin Blanc is actually native to this area. We can also heartily attest to the surprising ability of this white to age gracefully and reveal a complexity of flavor and seductive texture that is exceedingly rare in this southern clime. Certified Organic.
Mas-Cal-Demoura-Rose Coteaux du Languedoc Rose Qu’es Aquo A rich, expressive and aromatic rosé, the Qu’es Aquo is made in the same spirit as the domaine’s red wines, using the same five cépages – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan – but in a different blend that favors Cinsault and Syrah. The rosé is saignée and vinified like a white wine to emphasize its aromatics. Note, however, that the Qu’es Aquo is a substantial, full-bodied rosé that performs exceedingly well at the table and expresses proudly its roots in this special part of the Languedoc. Certified Organic.
Mas-Cal-Demoura-Infidele-2006 Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge L’Infidèle The historic cuvée of Jean-Pierre Jullien, L’Infidèle is a blend of all the regional grapes – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan. The Goumards make choices in the vineyard and in the cellar that will emphasize finesse and freshness in this bottling, allowing for full expression of the fruit. The grapes are partially destemmed. Temperature is rigorously controlled. The cuvaison can extend for as long as six weeks with frequent remontage. Aging takes place mostly in older demi-muids and each grape variety undergoes the primary stages of the elevage separately. Based upon a series of ongoing tastings, the Goumards determine the final blend and then the five varieties are assembled in cuve and aged for an additional six to eight months prior to bottling. The wine is bottled without filtration. Certified Organic.
Mas-Cal-Demoura-Rouge-Combariolles Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge Les Combariolles Produced from a single parcel located halfway between Jonquières and Montpeyroux, “Les Combariolles” is an elegant cuvée composed of the three “noble” grapes of the region – Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre – in equal parts. The Goumards feel that this parcel produces a wine of more refinement than one typically finds in the Languedoc – a shade less rustic than “L’Infidèle”. “Les Combariolles” is vinified along the same lines as “L’Infidèle”, but with a longer cuvaison and an eighteen month élevage. Certified Organic.
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2018 Rosé Field Report

The story throughout the south of France for the 2018 growing season was similar: an inordinate amount of rainfall from February through June engendered a rash of mildew that had growers scrambling, treating between five and ten times as much as usual in many instances. The weather pulled an immediate about-face in July, turning remarkably hot and remarkably dry—conditions which persisted until harvest. This whiplash effect stressed both vines and vignerons, to be sure, but happily the quality of the rosés from Provence is generally outstanding in 2018. The higher amount of rainfall led to rosés not burdened by unwelcome heaviness due to hyper-low yields, but the dryness of the latter part of the growing season prevented a sense of dilution in the final wines. In general, the 2018 rosés from the south of France display impeccable balance, superb drinkability, and a streak of classicism that sets them above the 2017s.

Summary of Grower Visits – Part VIII

For those who think these wines are a tad expensive, consider this: that harvest levels are sometimes as low as 20 hectolitres per hectare at these two Mas. Reflect on that when you are considering village level white Burgundy at $600+ per case (rendement frequently 50 to 60 hl/ha). Organic?

THE 2017 ROSE REPORT PART III

LANGUEDOC AND CORBIERES …. LANGUEDOCA huge variety of terroirs exist within the Languedoc’s vastness, and one particularly great one is having its moment: the Terrasses du Larzac, a zone just north of Montpellier and inland from the Mediterranean. The number of wine-producing domaines there has ballooned from 30 to 110 over the past decade, as […]

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