About

LA PÈIRA PROFILE

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La Peira Terrasses du Larzac (crédit photo: Georges Souche)

• Owners: Karine Ahton and Robert Dougan
• Winemaker: Audrey Bonnet–Koenig
• Classification: AOC Terrasses du Larzac
• Sector: Sainte-Brigitte (Jonquieres/Saint-André de Sangonis)
• Vineyard area: 11.4 hectares
• Vineyards/Lieux-dits: Bois de Pauliau, Bellefeuille (Belle Fiolle), Les Pointes
• Soil: Gravelly Quarternary Alluvial deposits (Pliocene Age) These deposits were derived principally from the mountains of Late Jurassic (about 150 million years old) limestone to the north. The gravels along with sand, silt, and clay, were laid down in stream channels in what are known as alluvial fans (cones)
• Average annual production: 300 cases of the grand vin, La Pèira | 500 cases of the second vin, Las Flors de la Pèira.
• Vineyards planted with: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan, Viogner, Roussanne, Marsanne, & Clairette blanche
• Other wines: Obriers de la Pèira, Deusyls (blanc), Matissat

HISTORY – FRANCE’S EARLIEST VITICULTURAL REGION

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La Peira Terrasses du Larzac (crédit photo: Georges Souche)

“Roman ruins found in southern France have been declared remnants of the country’s earliest known winery” – Decanter Magazine

While the team’s work at La Pèira began as recently as 2004, the vineyards sit in France’s earliest viticultural region. As Hugh Johnson states of this area in his The Story of Wine:

“These are the first extensive vineyards in France we can be certain about”.

The estate is located in the commune of Saint André de Sangonis, which has been designated AOC for over half a century, as the most northerly of the two zones of the Clairette du Languedoc AOC (1948).

Nearby La Pèira, and still in the Clairette AOC, France’s earliest known winery (AD 10) was discovered in 2007 (link: Decanter France’s earliest winery found 2 Jul 2007 ).

Indeed, the first mention of French wine in literature as being of significant merit is found in Pliny’s Natural History (AD 77–79) in which the white wines of Baeterrae [Beziers] nearby are cited as worthy of note (alongside the resinous reds of Vienne):

“When ye are passed once into Fraunce or Gaule, the wine of Beterræ is in chiefe request.”
[CHAP. VI. Pliny’s Natural History: Of kindly wines made of the best Grapes. 
Trans. PHILEMON HOLLAND 1601]

TERRASSES DU LARZAC AOC – ‘A STATUS APART’

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La Peira Terrasses du Larzac (crédit photo: Georges Souche)

“Some of the greatest vineyard land in the south of France”
– Andrew Jefford Financial Times

By contrast, the vineyard’s designation for the production of red wines (Terrasses du Larzac) was decreed as recently as 2005 (coincidentally the inaugural vintage of the current team).

In 2009, Andrew Jefford dedicated an article in the Financial Times to looking at the Terrasses du Larzac (and what he called “the astonishing wines of La Pèira”), writing that the enclave contained, “some of the greatest vineyard land in the south of France.” (Link)

Subsequently, French wine critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve awarded the Terrasses du Larzac French Appellation of the Year in 2011, with the citation:

“This sector very much deserves a status apart. A terroir. A real one.”

THE VINEYARDS – ‘SOMETHING HEREABOUTS WORKS VERY WELL’

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La Peira Terrasses du Larzac (crédit photo: Georges Souche)

“Many observers in the Languedoc-Roussillon believe the vineyards/terroirs located in the sector…in and around the village of St.-Andre de Sangonis produce some of the finest wines of the region.”
– Robert Parker Wine Advocate 1998 –

The soils are deep gravelly quaternary alluvium – set down here over the same period, and in the same way, as those in the Médoc, Graves, Saint Emilion, or Pomerol – but just on a different side of the Massif Central. Instead of the Gironde you have the Hérault river…

As Andrew Jefford writing for Decanter magazine on his visit to La Pèira observes:

“Something hereabouts, in the benchlands of Terrasses du Larzac, works very well indeed.  My last visit came after two days of huge rain, but there wasn’t a drop of standing water to be seen: the deep glacial rubble had swallowed, and digested, the lot. It’s stony, but not austere; it’s bright but ventilated. For the Languedoc, it feels almost Médoc-like.” (Link)

While the Quaternary Alluvium deposited in the Medoc there sometimes forms terrace mounds, here it is expressed as alluvial fans or cônes (another notable example of this in the world of wine is the Rutherford bench). As David Schildknecht relates:

“The deep alluvial fan that is the basis for this site is only barely tilted, as it might be in St. Helena or Rutherford, St.-Estephe or Pomerol … and these comparisons will not seem inapt once you experience the quality of La Peira’s wines.”

The Terrasses du Larzac, in the inland hills of the northern Hérault, overlaps in two villages with that of Roquefort – France’s oldest and the world’s first appellation (1925).

Here, the in the villages of Pégairolles-de-l’Escalette and Octon, the grazing of Lacaune, Manech, and Basco-Béarnaise ewes for the production of Roquefort cheese occurs alongside the growing of Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre for Terrasses du Larzac wine. After that the culture of the olive and the vine peter out and are replaced with the grazing of sheep and cattle, the making of cheese, and – eventually – forests of Oak, Chestnut and Pine.

CRITICS ON LA PÈIRA

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“Many observers consider this to be the most exciting estate in the Languedoc.”
Robert Parker Wine Advocate (Link)
“Make no mistake about it, this is a very special wine made on a very special estate.”
Jancis Robinson Financial Times
 (Link)
”Rearranged my inner pantheon in the way that truly great wine can.”
Andrew Jefford The World of Fine Wine (Link)
“The leading estate in all of the Languedoc and Roussillon.”
Jeb Dunnuck Wine Advocate (Link)
“The flagship wine from this new venture is easily going to be the next great global cult wine. Think Clos Erasmus or Masseto”
Gary Vaynerchuk (Link)
“The texture and the depth of flavor are amazing. It reminded me at different moments of 1989 La Mission Haut-Brion, Fattoria Galardi 2004 Terre di Lavoro and 1990 Henri Bonneau Reserve des Célestins.”
Jay McInerney Wall Street Journal (Link) 
“A Spectacular South of France wine”
René Gabriel / Weinwisser  (Link)
“Wines that need not fear comparison with any of the world’s wine icons”
“As profoundly delicious as all but a handful of crus rendered anywhere in France”
David Schildknecht Wine Advocate (Link) (Link)
“There is clearly real sensibility for the local terrain and varietal traditions”
Jancis Robinson jancisrobinson.com  (Link)
“Now recognised as one of the very top wines in France.”
Simon Field MW Berry Bros. & Rudd (Link)
“Southern France’s First Growth”
Andrew McMurray Vice-President of Zachys (Link)
“Has exactly what I cherish in a wine and what I strive for with my own wines”
Manfred Krankl Sine Qua Non (Link)
“Confirmed the high potential of the relatively cool, windy hills north of Clermont”
Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson 
The World Atlas of Wine (Link)
“A range of wines of striking depth and originality yet great truth to place, too.”
Andrew Jefford Financial Times (Link)
“Have helped completely change the landscape and the horizon of their appellation, with the wines being placed on qualitative level or above, of the 1er crus classés of Bordeaux and the Grands Crus of Burgundy”
Bertrand Rougier Classement des Meilleurs Vins de France 2014 Lafont Presse (Link)
“They have created great wines, the kind of wines that can jolt consumers’ perceptions of the Languedoc and can rival the best from Bordeaux, and the Rhône. Maybe, given time, they might even right a historical wrong.”
Andrew Jefford Gourmet Traveller WINE (Link)

 

THE WINES

La Peira 2005 Terrasses du Larzac
 
 

 LA PÈIRA

Parcelle: Bois de Pauliau
Cépages: Predominante Syrah with some Grenache
La Pèira 2005: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot (under construction)
La Pèira 2006: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
La Pèira 2007: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
La Pèira 2008: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
La Pèira 2009: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
La Pèira 2010: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
La Pèira 2011: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
La Pèira 2012: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot


Las Flors 2005 Terrasses du Larzac

LAS FLORS DE LA PÈIRA (second vin)

Parcelle: Bellefeuille
Cépages: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre
Las Flors de la Pèira 2005: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot (under construction)
Las Flors de la Pèira 2006: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Las Flors de la Pèira 2007: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Las Flors de la Pèira 2008: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Las Flors de la Pèira 2009: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Las Flors de la Pèira 2010: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Las Flors de la Pèira 2011: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Las Flors de la Pèira 2012: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot

Obriers 2005 Terrasses du Larzac

OBRIERS DE LA PÈIRA (3e vin) 

Parcelle: Bellefeuille
Cépages: Cinsault Carignane
Obriers de la Pèira 2005: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot (under construction)
Obriers de la Pèira 2006: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2007: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2008: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2009: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2010: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2011: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2012: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Obriers de la Pèira 2013: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot

Deusyls 2005 Terrasses du Larzac

DEUSYLS DE LA PÈIRA (BLANC)

Parcelle: Bellefeuille
Cépages: Viognier, Roussanne
Deusyls de la Pèira 2005: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot (under construction)
Deusyls de la Pèira 2006: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2007: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2008: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2009: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2010: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2011: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2012: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Deusyls de la Pèira 2013: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot

matissat-2010-terrasses-du-larzac

MATISSAT

Parcelle: Bois de Pauliau
Cépages: Mourvèdre
Matissat 2007: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Matissat 2008: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Matissat 2009: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Matissat 2010: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot
Matissat 2011: Reviews | Technical Sheet | Hi-Res Bottle/Label Shot

 
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