Home Thoughts From Abroad
Another day out tasting and I wash up in Pall Mall for a sip (or three) of the wines of Domaine Gayda, an impressive operation based in Languedoc. They claim that their wines benefit from the incredible terroir of the region and as I browse the room I know I'm going to put this bold claim to the test. First a little background.
The team of Tim Ford (CEO) Vincent Chansault (Winemaker) and Anthony Record MBE (entrepreneur) are the enterprising souls who were determined to let the rest of us in on what they've known for an age, that this is an area capable of producing wines that are worth the journey. In Pall Mall's basement, they work the room and chat to us, and it's difficult not to be swept up in the ambition of what they are trying to achieve.
Their winery has evolved with the use of new techniques such as concrete egg fermenters. They have all the latest technology available, are constantly redeveloping, innovating and moving forward to create our distinctive range of quality wines.
The location chosen for Domaine Gayda nearly 20 years ago is an area called Malpere. It is here, between the Minervois and the Catalonian hinterland that Domaine Gayda has executed its strategy to maximum the regions viticultural potential.
Championing experimentation, biodiversity, innovation and freedom, its founders have tried to tap into their previous experiences around the world, most notably in South Africa where they met.
Domaine Gayda's defining features also include an interesting Chenin Blanc - a tribute to their love of South Africa. Along with the usual features of a modern winery such as wine tourism and organic winegrowing, it tries to define itself by it's free-spirited approach to creating wines.
Now enough of me blabbing. There's five wines I want you to try...
It's eyes down and smiles up as I am introduced to this glass.
I'm aware of black fruit (cherries and plums) then a touch of forest floor, menthol, interesting black spice and blackberries
A sip gives you more pepper, but not too overwhelming, dark fruit of the plum variety and mouth-drying tannins.
A rewarding glass that stays in the memory.
6 out of 7
Figure liberal Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is one of those wines I always seem to stumble over but never really seek out, like Petit Verdot.
This one starts off with a dusty dark fruit that comes across blackberries and plums before a lot of pepper enters the fray. Brambles and an almost pungent undergrowth lie in wait for the unsuspecting.
At the end I'm getting a real taste of furniture polish. It's not horrible, just interesting how it comes to be here.
6 out of 7
Chemin de Moscou
This might be a homage to Moscow, but I'm not getting a distance or a coldness about this wine because the fruit is so elegant it might be in praise of the Hermitage Museum instead.
Say hello to a cacophony of flavours that result from a mixture of elegant dark spicy fruit, butter, vanilla and a handshake of oak.
When you taste that fruit your tongue fizzes with black peppery spice and plays snooker with blackcurrant and blackberries while vanilla tastes calm you down.
6 out of 7
Villa Mon Rêve
This winery are certainly on to something, and once again I'm getting so much from such a slight tasting. No wonder they're walking around smiling!
On the nose it starts with green stalks and pungent black fruit before red fruit (plums) coming through. Wait around and be rewarded with blackberries, cassis, pepper and a great mouthfeel that makes me very excited about this wine.
6.5 out of 7
I lift this and the colour is so delicate that it makes me almost nurse the glass before lifting it to my nose and receiving a blessing of creamy, succulent green fruit that gives way to a wonderful Apple Charlotte.
This is such an easy drinker with fresh apples and pear syrup providing the welcome.
5.5 out of 7
That's it for now, and by that I mean that you haven't heard the last of Domaine Gayda. I'm hoping to get a visit in soon and then there should be a more in-depth piece that contextualises the marriage of wine and place that they are trying so hard to create. I think that they're on to something, and I also think that it's a place worth watching, and a story worth continuing...