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2020 Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc, Vin de Pays de l'Herault

Famous for its Grands Vins, the Mas de Daumas Gassac has been a family owned vineyard for more than 40 years and belongs to the Guibert family. It is set in a wild and enchanting valley, close the magnificent romanesque abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. 50 hectares of a deep, well drained soil, free from any chemical fertilisers.

It is this fabulous terroir, similar to the best parts of Burgundy, that Henri Enjalbert, the great Professor of Geology at Bordeaux university, rediscovered in the 1970’s.

A delicate piece of music! A gentle, nurturing climate has given it richness and balance.
The winter was cold but not freezing, without any snow. It was followed by a spring with just the right amount of rain, resulting in a vigorous start to the growth cycle. 2020 was characterized by mild conditions, from pruning to bud break, and then from flowering to the harvest. There were no heatwaves or excessive spikes in temperature over the summer, with an average of 28°C during the day and magical, cool nights (10°-12°C) in the Gassac Valley.
Finally, a perfectly-timed storm on 15 August, a stroke of luck they have not had since 2012, turned the vintage into something genuinely exceptional. By the 1st October, vinification of the red and white grand vins was complete, and as they tasted them during this process, a “classicism” emerged, reminiscent of the property’s early vintages.
"28% Viognier, 23% Petit Manseng, 20% Chardonnay, 12% Chenin Blanc, 17% 'rare varieties'. From a cool microclimate in Larzac. Pale gold. Awkward, at first – needed lots of air. (To be honest, this wine needs lots more time…) So young and unformed, but very intense. This is fisted into a white-knuckled ball of concentration, still angular, but even so, it's a kaleidoscope of layers, flavours, components. The ripeness of golden Cape gooseberries and apricots pushes through clouds of May blossom and angelica flower. Grapefruit and passion fruit, bitter-salty quinine, linden and mimosa florals, honey, wax and lime. On the finish, cardamom and white pepper and chalk linger, dry and insistent. A wine that, even in its cocoon, has weight and presence. When I taste this wine, it feels like a heavy pewter spoon, tarnished into worn beauty, cold, pressed into warm wax, laid on bronze silk. Buy this wine, tuck it into a far corner of the cellar, come back to it in three, four, five years' time. (TC)" 17+ pts, Jancis Robinson

£59.99 per bottle

2014 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Macherelles, Domaine Jean-Claude Bachelet

Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate 90-92/100
The 2014 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru les Macherelles comes from a vineyard that Jean-Baptiste feels has improved in recent years because of their approach to plowing. It has a stony, granitic nose - just a faint whiff of smoke in the background, but clearly holding itself back at the moment. The palate is harmonious and well balanced, the acidity very well judged here, enabling this Chassagne to just "flow" across the mouth. It lingers nicely with a dab of lemongrass right on the aftertaste. Lovely - this has great potential.

Jean-Baptiste and Benoît Bachelet, located down in the village of Gamay next door to Domaine Marc Colin, have been creating some wonderful wines from their gallimaufry of parcels in recent years. Like the neighbors, their relocation to more modern facility means that they have much more room at their disposal and the wines have achieved ever-higher levels of precision and greater consistency. But it is not just in the winery that there have been changes. In 2012 they began converting vineyard to biodynamic viticulture, first by prudently splitting holdings into two so that they could compare the results. I wish more vignerons would do that (see Domaine Dujac). It applies a little more objectivity. 'In 2014, some parcels such as Saint Aubin Charmois have become fully biodynamic,' Jean-Baptiste told me and I followed up by asking the difference it has made. 'We find that the vines control and regulate themselves. There is more equilibrium and we find more precision in the wine. We haven't used herbicides for 15 years, so it's not a dramatic change. We are nearly 100% biodynamic for the whites now. We feel the wine is closer to the terroir.'

Where this domaine really delivers is in Chassagne-Montrachet. Their 2014s boast a clutch of riveting, nervous, racy wines that exploit the growing season and deliver thrilling premier crus that are strongly recommended.

£84.99 per bottle