Domaine-Anne-Gros-et-Jean-Paul-Tollot

Domaine Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot


Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot (Domaine Tollot-Beaut) have taken over some wonderful vineyards in the Minervois, and brought Burgundian savoir-faire to an area which all too often produces sweet or leaden-footed lumpen wines. Now into their second vintage these wines have a style of lively freshness which is so uncommon anywhere in Languedoc-Roussillon. We were bowled over by their drinkability, and feel they offer so much in terms of character and flavour, while remaining easy to approach, mineral and light of touch. Click here to read Jancis Robinson's article: A Burgundian in the Languedoc.

Anne Gros of the eponymous Vosne-Romanee domaine and her partner Jean-Paul Tollot (of Domaine Tollot-Beaut) happened on the site of their new estate not long after they conceived the possibility of working vineyards in the South, and Anne says that as soon as she grasped the diversity of soils and glimpsed the several substantial parcels on offer around tiny Cazelles - 14 hectares at the high, northern edge of appellation Minervois just before it gives way to Saint-Chinian (at the same elevation as Vosne-Romanee's crus), where nights are generally cool even in mid-summer - she was smitten. Gros and Tollot have since taken to the task of preserving the ancient vines and vineyard ecosystems in this neighborhood with born-again zeal. The Gros-Tollot family of four now lives and works here most weekends, although during the protracted picking of these sites so dramatically different in soil, exposure, and cepage - a harvest which overlaps that of the Cote d'Or - they can literally be pulled in two directions. Given this couple's background and well-known talents, it comes as no surprise to learn that they are rendering wines unlike any others in Minervois, or indeed anywhere else in the Languedoc. Their aims are inter alia to showcase each of their principle grape varieties - very much including unjustly-slighted Cinsault and Carignan; each of their soil types - sandstone and iron-rich chalk-clay; and elegance, levity, and refinement, vinous virtues that, yes, might well be dubbed Burgundian. The prices of top cuvees emanating from Gros and Tollot's new, extremely sophisticated facility (much of its equipment mirroring that at Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne) also set them Anne Gros of the eponymous Vosne-Romanee domaine and her partner Jean-Paul Tollot (of Domaine Tollot-Beaut) happened on the site of their new estate not long after they conceived the possibility of working vineyards in the South, and Anne says that as soon as she grasped the diversity of soils and glimpsed the several substantial parcels on offer around tiny Cazelles - 14 hectares at the high, northern edge of appellation Minervois just before it gives way to Saint-Chinian (at the same elevation as Vosne-Romanee's crus), where nights are generally cool even in mid-summer - she was smitten. Gros and Tollot have since taken to the task of preserving the ancient vines and vineyard ecosystems in this neighborhood with born-again apart from all but a handful of Languedoc collections, in which respect Gros openly expresses her disappointment that trade resistance has forced her to lower her sights a bit, quite possibly beneath price levels that will be sustainable long-term given the low yields and innovative, labor-and capital-intensive viticultural efforts that characterize the Gros-Tollot regimen. (Example: there are three different tractors to accommodate the widths of rows and method of vine-training in different parcels.) One might argue that Gros was naive about consumers' expectations of Minervois vis-a-vis famous-name Burgundy. But it is the trade and consumers who ultimately must shed prejudice and recognize good value, unique personalities, and exciting innovations in wine when they taste them - otherwise the market will dictate that quality like that of these wines no longer issues from the Languedoc, notwithstanding their eloquent testimony to what is possible. The Gros-Tollot La 50/50 represents tank-vinified fruits of old vines Carignan and Cinsault with those of some younger Grenache. Les Fontanilles is from a north- and west-facing, densely garrigue-rimmed bowl of predominantly ultra-friable sandstone but at places stony calcaire, planted with Grenache (in the majority), Cinsault, Syrah, and centenarian Carignan, fruits of the latter two sorts being matured in aged barriques. From south-facing but water-retentive limestone and all four cepages - though Syrah is dominant - La Ciaude is raised entirely in barrel; as is Les Carretals, from largely centenarian, dominantly Carignan vines in a near-clos whose lime-, iron-, and clay-rich soil reminds Gros of her parcel of Richebourg - except that this site is extraordinarily rocky by any standards whatsoever. After three years of rigorous de-budding, notes Gros, her younger vines seem now to have begun regulating themselves and producing a smaller, balanced crop. Incidentally, the inaugural 2008 collection here gained in charm and complexity during the nearly 12 month interval between the two occasions when I tasted it. Whereas the 2009s - harvested on average two weeks later than the 2008s and bottled last November - kicked into malo directly out of their primary fermentations, malo-lactic transformation of the 2010s was - in typically Burgundian fashion - delayed until spring, so my notes on wines of that vintage encompass the occasional lot with residual malic acid or significant residual CO2. I did however deem my note on one wine representative enough to be worth publishing as a foretaste of what is to come. Although there was no drought stress or desiccation here in 2010, Gros reports that she and Tollot were nonetheless amazed on pressing to realize how low was the juice-to-skin ratio as well as the pH, all of which one tastes as vibrant concentration, not to mention sees in wines whose deep colors belie their sense of levity and elegance. David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate


Anne Gros and Jean Paul Tollot, two winegrowers in Burgundy for over 20 years, have combined their expertise to serve the fine terroirs in Cazelles, in the Minervois! Love at first sight?... Absolutely! Reflection?... Of course! We chose Cazelles for the diversity of its soil, made of limestone, clay and sandstone, for the discovery of 4 main cepages (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault), for the quality and the wide age range of its vines, the privileged environment at the foot of the Black Mountain, its altitude of 220 metres (identical to Vosne-Romanée). A building was created to grow, receive, make and care for these fine terroir wines. It has been designed with great attention to detail, respecting the energies, the wines and the people... A beautiful architectural structure made of simple but noble materials... terracotta, wood, stainless steel... Roundness is eveywhere... the road, the hills, the tanks, the barrels... the wines. Our first vintage: 2008. We expected a racy style, laced with minerals, and fresh. We had a lot more! A very good balance of sugar and acidity! A reason for such a result? Slow maturity, cool nights, temperatures around 17 degrees during the harvest... This reminds us of the standard conditions in Burgundy... Harvest from September 18 to October 5. This first vintage came to life with anxious anticipation. It did not disappoint. It is vibrant. Each plot and cépage were vinified separately in order to get acquainted with their expressions. We waited a year to discover their particularity and complementarity. One year of maturing before deciding on their blending. Four wines were born. They now rest in a Burgundian shaped bottle known as The Authentic. The colour orange played a decisive role in this Domaine... Cellars, materials, labels and cartons are all in harmony, like the colour of the Earth merging with the Sun. Winemaker's notes