Generosity of Languedoc and freshness of Larzac
Some 45 kms north-west of Montpellier, the Domaine of 15 hectar of vines is in the most northerly part of the AOC Languedoc area in the Terrasses du Larzac appellation. At the foot of the Larzac plateau, it is overlooked by the 849 metre high Mount Baudille. It’s this very special geographic situation, where northern and southern weather patterns meet, that gives our wines their fresh finesse.
Hot days, cool nights
During August, as the grapes reach full maturity, the vines benefit from cool night time temperatures of the Larzac plateau. There can be as much as 20°C difference between these and the daytime heat. And because this means the grapes mature more slowly, they develop polyphenols which encourage rich, more complex aromas to develop in the juices, which become more fruity and delightfully fresh.
The differing types of soil, vegetation and climate merge here. The Mediterranean green oak, the northern white oak, chestnut trees, olives all happily co-exist !
La Blaquiera, in Occitan, translates as a white oak forest, hence our village’s name.
Vines do not grow only a few kilometres above us.
Were the Larzac an island, Mount Baudille would be its most southerly point.
Formed from a major outcrop of Jurassic limestone, including fine sediment which, over a long period, settled 1000 metres down at the bottom of a warm, shallow ‘sea’. Six million year ago, serious earth movement and volcanic explosions lifted the land, creating the wide open spaces of the Larzac and other plateaux
Rain water seeps into and circulates deep down within this karstic land.
huge number of galleries remain to be discovered in the hidden labyrinths at the heart of the layers of bedrock. Little by little, the water continuously eats away at the stone creating unlikely underground streams.
That’s how the water from some of the water holes in the southern Larzac, like the one at the summit of Mount Baudille, flows directly into the famous Clamouse Grotto, and then into the Hérault gorge, one of Europe’s finest !
A geological mosaic of soils
15 land parcelles : 15 unique terroirs . St Jean de la Blaquière is the only area in the Terrasses du Larzac where schist is to be found. But that’s not all. The whole area is made up of the most spectacular geological phenomena due to soil erosion and spectacular movement of the earth’s surface. This diversity is almost unique in France and is home to a mass of incredible geological mix : schist, sandstone, pebbles & shingle, red ruffes. It is this terroir that gives our wines their special character.
Terroirs based on schist are rare, which is why they are so special. St Jean’s village terroirs are among the few in the Terrasses du Larzac area. The vines’ roots plunge deep into the well drained stony layers ensuring wines with delicate, silky tannins.
The ‘ruffes’ (from the Latin for ‘red’) are deep deposits of sandstone accumulated some 265 million years ago and exposed by erosion. The region was volcanic, the last Salagou volcanos stopped erupting around 650,000 years ago The red ‘ruffes’ from the Primary era thus cohabit with the dark basalt which resulted from quaternary volcanic lava flow, making the countryside and terroirs unique in Europe.
Fifteen land parcels, 15 unique terroirs whose individual characteristics are preserved by separate vinification.