Mas du Domaine Gassac Rouge, Famille Guibert, Haute Valleé du Gassac 2008
MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC, FAMILLE GUIBERT, Haute Valleé du Gassac
The story of Mas de Daumas Gassac is one of vision, enterprise, passion and pride. When the Guiberts first purchased their farm (the mas) in the charming Gassac valley they little realised that they had a particular micro-climate which would give them the potential to make great wines.
A visiting professor, one Henri Enjalbert, identified a particular red soil that was common to certain great estates in the Médoc and Grand Cru Burgundies. Under the thick garrigue scrub and shrubs covering the Arboussas hills, he found some 40 hectares of perfectly drained soil, poor in humus and vegetable matter, rich in mineral oxide (iron, copper, gold etc). Formed from deposits carried in by the winds during the Riss, Mindel and Guntz glacial periods (ranging from 180,000 - 400,000 years ago) the terroir provides the three elements necessary for a potential Grand Cru: deep soil ensuring the vines' roots delve deep to seek nourishment; perfectly drained soil ensuring vines' roots are unaffected by humidity; poor soil meaning that vines have to struggle to survive, an effort which creates exceptionally fine aromas. Rock, scrub and tree clearing began in 1971 and the first vines, principally Cabernet Sauvignon, were planted on the 1.6ha plot.
The cellars have been created in the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill; they now house 400 Merrain oak barrels; one in seven is replaced each year. There are two cold water springs under the cellar's floor, nature's own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 - 10 days. This slow process means the complex flavours have time to develop, something that doesn't happen with modern high-tech fermentation. You cannot talk about Gassac without mentioned Emile Peynaud who effectively came out of retirement in 1978 to mentor the Guiberts in their early wine-making endeavours.
The wines do not lie; they have natural elegance and a purity that marks them apart. Each vintage is truly a testament to a wine-growing season; one tastes the terroir rather than the technique.
It has an intense bouquet of crushed blackberries and mulberries, burnt oak and smoky, leathery notes. Full bodied, powerful, with ripe tannins, yet elegant and soft in the mouth it has a silky finish that never seems to ends.
Grape: 78% Pinot Noir, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Pinot, 2% Nebbiolo, 2% Dolcetto