When one whispers the name Domaine Gramenon in Southern Rhône, they are met with fervent looks of glee and envy. For Michèle Aubéry-Laurent is making wine of a quality so far beyond that of her appellation. Despite this, the story of how Domaine Gramenon came to be the powerhouse that it is today is far from gleeful.
Purchased in 1978 by couple Michèle and Philippe, the vineyard of hundred-year-old grapes set amongst idyllic olive groves in the small town of Montbrison-sur-Lez, bottled its first wine in 1990. Tragedy struck in 1999 when Philipe, the head vigneron, was killed in a hunting accident. Michele was left with a vineyard and three sons, all of which she cultivated with the compassion and care one would expect of an ex-nurse. Her greatest success however was taking those 26 hectares and bringing to her husband’s blueprint a fresh, feminine style.
For starters, her vision is simple: expressing the very best without betraying the terroir and the grapes. Given the way her wines are celebrated for the purity of their fruit, her vision is fulfilled with utmost precision. In order to achieve it, Domaine Gramenon is entirely sustainable. The family grows their own food, raises their own animals. A European version of Manon Farm out of Adelaide Hills, if you will.
And in another parallel, Michèle’s winemaking process is entirely biodynamic. Certified organic under the Demeter Biodynamic Certification since 2010, their grapes are handpicked, combined only with indigenous yeasts, and the wines all unfined and unfiltered. The tiniest tipple of sulphur is added at assemblage. The cellars however are more old-fashioned: gravity fed tanks and oak demi-moulds and foudres are used for maturation of their grapes – most commonly Syrah or grenache. The result is a ripe wine that sings the story of this far North pocket in Southern Rhône with an exquisite elegance.
In addition to Domaine Gramenon, Michèle’s nurturing soul has fostered another success in the form of her son Maxime-Francoise. Upcoming vigneron of his own right, Maxime-Francoise plays an integral part in Domaine Gramenon. He has even bottled some non-interventionist juice, which is garnering great excitement and stature, under his own name.
This mother-and-son duo are creating some incredible drops out of their slice of the Côtes du Rhône. Try the La Sagesse for a deeply juicy fruit bomb, or La Papesse for a very serious and powerful take on a grenache. Don’t be fooled by their appellation, light and simple are not two words often reserved to describe Domaine Gramenon.
Article by: Ceren Guler