2016 Domaine de la Grange des Pères Vin de Pays de L'Herault


It must have been a decade ago when I attended a vertical of Domaine de la Grange des Pères in London. Then, it was revered as arguably Languedoc’s only true cult wine and, combined with its price tag, I was rather put off.

Nevertheless, a bottle of the 2016 Vin de Pays de L'Hérault made it clear why Laurent Vaillé’s white and red won legions of fans. The vineyard is a blend of 40% Syrah and 40% Mourvèdre, cuttings originally from J-L Chave, plus 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Counoise, the goblet vines notoriously low-yielding. Deep in color, the 2016 has a youthful but well-defined bouquet: black cherries and Provençal herbs (wild fennel and thyme) with hints of Côte-Rôtie gaminess. It just feels very assured. The palate is, again, quite backward and suggests that it needs another three or four years. Yet it is very enjoyable with pliant tannins that frame layers of generous but not opulent black fruit intertwined with freshly picked wild mint and cassis. Velvety smooth in texture, this gorgeous Languedoc conveys a sense of classicism without shying away from expressive Mediterranean flair. Superb. 94/Drink 2027-2045.

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