Feb 9, 2008
What do you do when you find out that a ground-breaking French wine maker is in town for only two days and he especially wants to see you? Well, if you’re us, you throw a party!
Fortunately we already had a Valentine Wine Tasting planned, so we just turned it into a Meet Sylvain Fadat party instead.
Sylvain is one of a handful of wine makers who is making the wines of the Languedoc something to be sought after rather than scorned. We first met him last year when we made a pilgrimage to his winery in the small town of Montpeyroux in the south of France.
Wally August and Sylvain Fadat
We already knew he made great wine. We, and our customers, had fallen in love with his Domaine d’Aupilhac Montpeyroux Rouge. We were selling lots of it in our shop and gift baskets. What we didn’t expect, upon meeting him, was to find someone so warm and gracious and so willing to share his knowledge. And his wines.
So here he was last night in our shop talking with everyone in the eager crowd about the wines he had brought with him. The Domain d’Aupilhac Rouge, of course, but we were also treated to his Carignan and two wines from his new vineyard Les Cocalieres, both a white and a red. Ooh la la la la. All so good. All so different from one another. The Domaine d’Aupilhac strong and muscled with dark red fruit, the Carignan dark, smokey and deep, Les Cocalieres Rouge refined and elegant – suitable for an aperitif!
Sylvain answers questions about wine.
The story of how he created the Cocalieres vineyard tells a lot about the man. He wanted a vineyard at a higher elevation and north facing so the grapes would mature more slowly. An isolated location would also make it easier to farm organically – being separated from neighboring vineyards where some still use pesticides and chemical fertilizer.
200,000 years ago, Les Cocalieres was a lake and underneath the current soil was a bed of volcanic rock and limestone. This would be great for his wines. Unfortunately that bed was now like solid cement and would provide bad drainage and make it impossible for the roots to go deep. So he drilled down and dynamited the old bed! When you walk there today you see the larger chunks of the lake bed all around the vineyard. Then he hands you a glass of his wine and smiles. And you do too.
Well, we hated to see him go, but he had to quickly see some old friends and then get on a plane back to France. We hope to be able to meet up with him in San Diego in May when he returns to the US.
Kermit Lynch is now importing the Carignan and Les Cocalieres Blanc and Rouge. We’re told that we’ll have some in about two weeks. We have the Domaine d’Aupilhac now. You will also find it being poured at Campanile and Bastide.
You can read more about our visit with Sylvain at his vineyard here: Meet Sylvain Fadat.