Vigneron Sylvain Fadat has been quietly creating masterpieces in this wild and beautiful corner of France’s Languedoc region for the better part of three decades. His hometown of Montpeyroux is located up in the mountains an hour from the coast, north of Montpellier, in an area referred to as the terraces of Larzac. A myriad of soil types, native garrigue, wild game, and fresh cooling breezes combine to create an ideal growing environment for the vine. The game sure does come in handy with the wines, too.
This blend of Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, and Vermentino is planted in the lieu-dit of Aupilhac, the little corner of the Larzac behind Sylvain’s winery on the lower limestone slopes of Mont Baudile. All of Sylvain’s wines show a strong sense of place, as his organic viticulture and minimalist treatment in the cellar coax the essence of his land. It tastes as if bees had harvested the nectar and pollen of all the local flowers and herbs and brewed it into wine.
At Domaine d’Aupilhac, Syvain Fadat’s mission is to valorize the great terroirs of the Languedoc and show off the potential of its traditional grapes when planted in selected sites. He calls Carignan “a symbol of the essence of the region and its history,” and crafts this wine as a testimony to the quality Carignan can achieve with low yields from old vines in poor soils. A deep, smoky powerhouse capable of aging for decades in your cellar, this beauty will prompt you to reassess your idea of what can be done in this undervalued region.
A quick glance at the Cocalières vineyard is enough to inspire downright awe: this vast amphitheater stretches over a sloping eight hectares of rocky land, perched above the Languedoc plains that lead to the Mediterranean to the south. Convinced by the potential of this high-altitude terroir, vigneron Sylvain Fadat of Domaine d’Aupilhac cleared the land of shrubbery and stones after purchasing the plot almost twenty years ago, then planted vines with the goal of producing wines of elegance and restraint. The slightly cooler climate in Cocalières is perfect for accomplishing this, as it allows Sylvain to harvest ripe, balanced grapes at lower potential alcohol levels than is feasible in the sunbaked foothills below.
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