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. The 2014 vintage epitomizes his quest for freshness: rarely do Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre achieve such class and finesse. Today, it recalls black pepper, violets, and dried herbs, but if previous vintages are any indicator, there is no hurry to open this refined southern red.
|Blend:||40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre|
|Aging:||Ages in cuves and barrels for 15 months|
Domaine d'Aupilhac France | Languedoc-Roussillon | Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Three generations of Fadats have farmed the lieu-dit known as Aupilhac, in the village of Montpeyroux, across the river Hérault from Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères. While the Fadats have farmed this land since the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1989 that the current member of the family, Sylvain, finally registered the domaine as a vigneron indépendant. Aupilhac sits at a high altitude, nestled below the ruins of the village’s château, at almost 1200 feet above sea level on terraced land. The soils are rich in prehistoric oyster fossils, which lend incredible length and minerality to the wines. In Sylvain’s words, “We believe that work in the vineyards has far more influence on a wine's quality than what we do in the cellar.”
When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:
1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.
Inspiring Thirst, page 174