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The Langudeoc is wild and diverse. There are coves, valleys, hills, and mountains. There are different soil types from different geologic areas. There are parts that are hot. There are parts that are cooled by... Read More
The Langudeoc is wild and diverse. There are coves, valleys, hills, and mountains. There are different soil types from different geologic areas. There are parts that are hot. There are parts that are cooled by the sea breeze, or perhaps by the wind blown down from the Massif Central. If you look hard, you will find great places to produce wine.For decades, nobody bothered. It is the sunny south, and very easy to ripen grapes. So the Languedoc served as France's answer to Central California: An easy place to make oceans of industrial wine to sell in supermarkets.But in the 1970s, a handful of pioneers started to look. Soon we had a small group of great Langudeoc domaines like Mas de Daumas Gassac, Mas Jullien, and Grange des Peres. Among these men there was also a woman: Marlène Soria.The domaine she created is Peyre Rose. For reasons that will become clear, it is not well known in the United States. And yet it makes what are perhaps the most compelling wines in the entire south of France. Peyre Rose's terroir is dominated by rocky soils and garrigue (the local scrub that gives some southern wines that "herbes de provence" flavor). There are also pink rocks, which gives the domaine its name. There Marlène mostly plants Syrah, but also some interesting white wine varieties, as you will see. She farms these vines organically, and they are organic all the way: chemicals have never touched them, either in the past or blown in from neighboring vineyards (as there are none). Wine-making is extremely hands off—maybe a little temperature control, and that's about it.It sounds good, and the wines really are. Unfortunately, they are also rather elusive. Partly this is because she just doesn't make that much. In some years she makes none at all (from 1999 to 2001 she made no red wine due to a problem with her vats). Even after she's made the wine, she often doesn't release it.