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The village of Les Baux rests precariously at the summit of the Alpilles mountain range, a striking block of white limestone that juts toward the skies just outside the Provençal city of Arles. The eponymous wine appellation embodies eight villages surrounding the mountains, and its vineyards have the distinction of being 100% organically farmed. Dominique Hauvette founded her estate in the mid-1980s after quitting her job as a lawyer in Savoie, and she now farms seventeen hectares, all biodynamically. Her top cuvée is Cornaline, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon from very rocky soils at the foot of the Alpilles. Fermented naturally and raised in foudres, this powerful red expresses all the wild beauty of the region: herbs, black fruit, savory spices, and an almost animal note that begs for a leg of roast lamb. A wine of considerable density, this 2010 is also a great candidate for the cellar.
|Blend:||50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Appellation:||Baux de Provence|
|Vineyard:||40 years average, 2 ha|
|Aging:||Wine is raised in foudre|
Not far from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a tourist town known for Roman ruins and as the place where Van Gogh painted “The Starry Night,” you’ll find Domaine Hauvette. Nestled among the foothills of Les Alpilles, the vines are surrounded by a rocky and wild landscape—the clay and limestone soil retains moisture for the arid summer months, the Mistral blows half the year, and <em>garrigue</em> is seemingly everywhere. It is here that in the early 1980s Dominique Hauvette, seeking more sunshine, left her job as a lawyer in the Savoie, re-discovered her passion for raising horses, and began studying oenology. Thirty-some years later and Dominique now has 17 hectares of vines and an international reputation for making benchmark natural wines.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.