Blend: 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah
Blocks: 20 L’Amandier; 10/37 Puech Redon Yields: 14 hl/ha
Process: aged 16–20 months in new Austrian and French oak casks of 400, 500l and 600l. Production: 1,800 bottles
Without fining or filtration
(2-3 Working Days)
(Full refund if you are not satisfied)
Tom Hills created Domaine La Lauzeta only in 2015, but with notable success. I was impressed by his Jauzimen rosé last year but the reds that I tasted this year showed this was no flash in the pan.
Jeb Dunnuck, 94 points
Tasted out of bottle, the inky colored 2016 Saint Chinian La Lauzeta comes from older vines and steeper, hillside parcels of primarily schist soils. Brought up all in barrel and a blend of Grenache and Syrah, this ripe, sexy beauty offers full-bodied aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, melted licorice, crushed rocks, and spice. Despite all the fruit and texture, it has solid underlying structure and loads of depth.
Domaine La Lauzeta presides over long-established vineyards on the schist foothills of the Espinouse and Caroux mountains in the north of the Saint Chinian appellation. The estate runs a small winery in the nearby village of Saint-Nazaire-de-Ladarez.
Founded by Tom Hills in 2015, the estate is run
by a passionate and dedicated team led by Amélie Czerwenka, a young winemaker with several vintages under her belt in Languedoc, Burgundy, Argentina, Chile and her native northern Rhône. She is supported by oenologist Claude Gros.
The name La Lauzeta comes from the Occitan word for skylark, a petite bird with a proud crest and a beautiful song. The skylark also featured heavily in the poems of Bernart de Ventadorn, a medieval troubadour who once roamed the region performing epic cansos – songs of noble and chivalrous love.
Saint-Chinian is situated to the north-west of Beziers, incorporating 20 villages with vineyards planted at an altitude of between 100–400 metres, across some 3,200 hectares. It attained AOP status in 1982 for its red and rosé.
In 2004, the communal appellation of Saint-Chinian Roquebrun was established – with tighter restrictions, requiring lower yields and longer maturation – for 400 hectares of vines in four villages, including Saint-Nazaire-de-Ladarez, in the foothills of the mountains surrounding the valley of the River Orb.
Vines have been cultivated in the region since Roman times, notably with the development of the Via Dolomita linking Gaul with Hispanica, a tradition built on by Benedictine monks around Saint-Chinian through the middle ages. The hills surrounding the estate are covered with ancient, overgrown stone terraces bearing witness to this long history of viticulture.
The beautiful, gnarled old vines of Domaine La Lauzeta spread across 23 hectares of schist slopes at 200–300 metres above sea level, with yields naturally low due to the inhospitable nature of the soil.
Varieties: Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault Vine age: 20–80 years
Planting density: 3,400–5,000 plants per hectare
We believe in gently nurturing the vines and the land for the long-term. That, together with a meticulous and uncompromising approach to the work in the vineyard and minimising interventions in the winery, enables us to create distinctive wines evocative of the remarkable beauty and character of this terroir.
Organic farming is therefore a prerequisite for us
and we began the three-year conversion process at
the outset in April 2015. To us, this means encouraging biodiversity, allowing wildflowers to grow between the vines, mulching, ploughing prunings back into the soil, often with the help of the wild boar who wander the garrigue.
It means not using synthetic chemical products, for example replacing insecticides with pheromones. It means considering the long-term impact of each and every action we take in the vineyard.
The work is painstaking and manual, involving pruning, debudding, shoot thinning, leaf removal and green harvesting to achieve perfect ripeness of the grapes. Weeds are ploughed and mulched both to control competition with the vines and to enrich the soil with organic matter.
The grapes are harvested selectively, entirely by hand, collected into small containers to avoid any damage and then rapidly transported to the winery. On arrival, the fruit is destemmed, before passing along a sorting table manned by a team of 6–8 people, removing anything other than perfectly ripe and healthy grapes.
The grapes are loaded into stainless steel tanks, using single vineyard selections, so that each block is vinified in a separate tank to allow us to study their individual character. The whole berries then macerate in a pre-fermentation cold soak, before a gentle extraction through long, gradual fermentation at controlled temperatures, manual punching down and negligible manipulation.
The maceration lasts around six weeks, followed where appropriate by maturation on the fine lees in large oak barrels, supplied by various cooperages.
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