October 2017—Our 45th Anniversary!
The underrated Pic Saint Loup appellation has all the makings of a great terroir: Mediterranean climate, rocky limestone soils, and cool, high-altitude vineyard sites. It’s no surprise that Kermit has touted the area since his first tastings there, detecting significant possibilities for Syrah and Mourvèdre especially. Brothers Pierre, Jean-Marc, and Xavier Ravaille have made it their mission to harness this potential since founding Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup in 1992. They eschew herbicides in their vineyards, choosing instead to plow the soils and treat with biodynamic plant preparations. The focus is on a pure and natural expression of place, so fermentations are spontaneous, aging takes place in used foudres and barriques, and the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. This smoky, chewy blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre is a great example of what Pic Saint Loup can achieve in the right hands.
|Blend:||50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre|
|Appellation:||Languedoc Pic Saint Loup|
|Producer:||Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup|
|Winemaker:||Xavier, Pierre, and Jean-Marc Ravaille|
|Vineyard:||30 years, 8 ha|
|Aging:||Aged in foudres and barriques for 12 months of which only 10-20% are new oak|
Domaine d'Aupilhac France | Languedoc-Roussillon | Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Ermitage du Pic St-Loup dates back to the Middle Ages, as the former home of the bishops of Maguelone. The limestone peak or “pic” perched above the vineyards was named for the legendary Saint Thieri Loup. In 1992, the Ravaille brothers joined forces to plant a vineyard here in what has traditionally been land dominated by sheep farming and cheese production. The Ravaille family has been in the Languedoc for over a thousand years, long enough to have known Saint Loup personally. These brothers have been on a noble quest of their own to create serious wine that expresses the complexity of their terroir. The three fish on the label’s emblem therefore not only evoke the story of Saint Loup, but also their fraternal collaboration.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
Inspiring Thirst, page 312