CAZELLES... two pairs of (experienced) hands...
a new adventure
Anne Gros and Jean Paul Tollot, two winegrowers in Burgundy for over 20 years, have combined their expertise to serve the fine terroirs in Cazelles, in the Minervois !!! Love at first sight ?... Absolutely ! Reflection ?... Of course !
http://www.youtube.com/user/VineWineCellarVideos#p/a/u/0/01mMytKTXwU by Elisabeth Villeminot/ Peter Vezan
Article de David Cobbold L'Amateur de Vins septembre 2011: Ce Domaine qui appartient à 2 bourguignons, produit des vins dont la finesse d'arômes et de texture dépasse tout ce que j'ai gouté dans l'appellation. Mais ils possèdent aussi une belle structure et peuvent se garder quelques années. Leurs vins sont plus chers que les autres mais ils le valent bien!
Web Wine Advocate 2011 June:
Anne Gros of the eponymous Vosne-Romanee domaine and her partner Jean-Paul Tollot (of Domaine Tollot-Beaut) happened on the site of their new estate not long after they conceived the possibility of working vineyards in the South, and Anne says that as soon as she grasped the diversity of soils and glimpsed the several substantial parcels on offer around tiny Cazelles - 14 hectares at the high, northern edge of appellation Minervois just before it gives way to Saint-Chinian (at the same elevation as Vosne-Romanee's crus), where nights are generally cool even in mid-summer - she was smitten. Gros and Tollot have since taken to the task of preserving the ancient vines and vineyard ecosystems in this neighborhood with born-again zeal. The Gros-Tollot family of four now lives and works here most weekends, although during the protracted picking of these sites so dramatically different in soil, exposure, and cepage - a harvest which overlaps that of the Cote d'Or - they can literally be pulled in two directions. Given this couple's background and well-known talents, it comes as no surprise to learn that they are rendering wines unlike any others in Minervois, or indeed anywhere else in the Languedoc. Their aims are inter alia to showcase each of their principle grape varieties - very much including unjustly-slighted Cinsault and Carignan; each of their soil types - sandstone and iron-rich chalk-clay; and elegance, levity, and refinement, vinous virtues that, yes, might well be dubbed Burgundian. The prices of top cuvees emanating from Gros and Tollot's new, extremely sophisticated facility (much of its equipment mirroring that at Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne) also set them - apart from all but a handful of Languedoc collections, in which respect Gros openly expresses her disappointment that trade resistance has forced her to lower her sights a bit, quite possibly beneath price levels that will be sustainable long-term given the low yields and innovative, labor-and capital-intensive viticultural efforts that characterize the Gros-Tollot regimen. (Example: there are three different tractors to accommodate the widths of rows and method of vine-training in different parcels.) One might argue that Gros was naive about consumers' expectations of Minervois vis-a-vis famous-name Burgundy. But it is the trade and consumers who ultimately must shed prejudice and recognize good value, unique personalities, and exciting innovations in wine when they taste them - otherwise the market will dictate that quality like that of these wines no longer issues from the Languedoc, notwithstanding their eloquent testimony to what is possible.
The Gros-Tollot La 50/50 represents tank-vinified fruits of old vines Carignan and Cinsault with those of some younger Grenache. Les Fontanilles is from a north- and west-facing, densely garrigue-rimmed bowl of predominantly ultra-friable sandstone but at places stony calcaire, planted with Grenache (in the majority), Cinsault, Syrah, and centenarian Carignan, fruits of the latter two sorts being matured in aged barriques. From south-facing but water-retentive limestone and all four cepages - though Syrah is dominant - La Ciaude is raised entirely in barrel; as is Les Carretals, from largely centenarian, dominantly Carignan vines in a near-clos whose lime-, iron-, and clay-rich soil reminds Gros of her parcel of Richebourg - except that this site is extraordinarily rocky by any standards whatsoever.
After three years of rigorous de-budding, notes Gros, her younger vines seem now to have begun regulating themselves and producing a smaller, balanced crop. Incidentally, the inaugural 2008 collection here gained in charm and complexity during the nearly 12 month interval between the two occasions when I tasted it. Whereas the 2009s - harvested on average two weeks later than the 2008s and bottled last November - kicked into malo directly out of their primary fermentations, malo-lactic transformation of the 2010s was - in typically Burgundian fashion - delayed until spring, so my notes on wines of that vintage encompass the occasional lot with residual malic acid or significant residual CO2. I did however deem my note on one wine representative enough to be worth publishing as a foretaste of what is to come. Although there was no drought stress or desiccation here in 2010, Gros reports that she and Tollot were nonetheless amazed on pressing to realize how low was the juice-to-skin ratio as well as the pH, all of which one tastes as vibrant concentration, not to mention sees in wines whose deep colors belie their sense of levity and elegance. David Schildknecht
Article The Underground Wine Letter by John Tilson 12/2012:
This 35 acre estate was recently created in Minervois by two Burgundy producers, Anne Gros of Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne-Romanee and Jean-Paul Tollot of Domaine Tollot-Beut in Chorey-lès-Beaune. They purchased parcels of vines situated in the high, northern edge of the appellation and built a new state of the art winery facility. Many of the vines are very old and are planted in varying soil types. Anne and Jean-Paul both come from long established Burgundy families and are 20 year wine growers and producers. The first vintage in Minervois was 2008. I have known of this venture for some time as we have talked about it on our visits to visit Domaine Anne Gros in Burgundy. We have been visiting this domaine each year for over 30 years which is well before Anne took over some 20 years ago. Under her direction, the wines of Domaine Anne Gros are amongst the most finesseful and lovely of all Burgundies. They are wines that I buy every year and drink often. Also, at Domaine Tollot-Beut, where we have also visited, the wines are lovely and supple with very pure fruit. But, having never tasted the wines from Minervois, I must confess I really did not know what to expect. Now, after tasting them, all I can say is WOW! It is no exaggeration to say that the wines show a Burgundian quality in the sense that they are so supple and seductive. Yet they clearly are different in terms of the structure and flavors. And, since they are so delicious to drink now, they are hard to resist. Yet I suspect the wines will be long lived. If you love balanced red wines with lots of fruit this are wines you really must try!
Anne et Jean Paul
We chose Cazelles for the diversity of its soil, made of limestone, clay and sandstone, for the discovery of 4 main cepages (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault), for the quality and the wide age range of its vines, the privileged environment at the foot of the Black Mountain, its altitude of 220 metres (identical to Vosne- Romanée).
A building was created to grow, receive, make and care for these fine terroir wines. It has been designed with great attention to detail, respecting the energies, the wines and the people... A beautiful architectural structure made of simple but noble materials...terracotta, wood, stainless steel... Roundness is eveywhere... the road, the hilles, the tanks, the barrels... the wines.
the vintage 2008 was born of our work in tandem:
Anne and Jean Paul trimming, during the green harvest, during the wine making and the maturing period.
Anne attaching the supports, pruning, lifting, hoeing... not forgetting all the administrative tasks.
Jean Paul dealing with the mechanics, looking after the soil, and thephytosanitary treatments.
Thibaut is now helping us to work the 1' ha, with tender loving care, in a reasoned way, with the tilling.
Our first vintage : 2008
We expected a racy style, laced with minerals, and fresh. We had a lot more! A very good balance of sugar and acidity ! A reason for such a result ? Slow maturity, cool nights, temperatures around 17 degrees during the harvest... This rminds us of the standard conditions in Burgundy... Harvest from September 18 to October 5.
This first vintage came to life with anxious anticipation. It did not disappoint ! It is vibrant.
Each plot and cepage were vinified separately in order to get acquainted with their expressions. We waited a year to discover their particuliarity and complementarity. One year of maturing before deciding on their blending.
Four vintages were born. They now rest in a Burgundian shaped bottle known as The Authentic. The colour orange played a decisive role in this Domaine... Cellars, materials, labels and cartons are all in harmony, like the colour of the Earth merging with the Sun.
The wines are available at the Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne-Romanée. Should you wish to discover more deeply this wonderful terroir. It would be a pleasure for us to welcome you in our 3 gîtes in Minervois.
Have you made the arrangements for your next holiday (or week-end break) ?
Why not treat yourself to a short break in the Minervois region?