Agly Brothers

A chance meeting in the mid-nineties sealed a certain fate for two great winemaking families of modern times – the Laughtons of Heathcote, Victoria, and the Chapoutiers of the Rhone Valley, France. Ron Laughton and Michel Chapoutier, both passionate winemakers with a belief in biodynamic farming and its potential to express pure terroir, found they shared a common vision: to create a pair of wines from far-reaching corners of the globe that would each express their distinct origins, yet remain allied through the philosophy of their creation. The Agly Brothers Côtes du Roussillon (Carignan blend from 100 year old vines) and Cambrien Shiraz represent the labors of the Laughton and Chapoutier families in this endeavor.

Agly Brothers, named as a playful take on Ron and Michel making wine together from vineyards along the River Agly, is nurtured biodynamically and made with simplicity from vines grown near the Southern French town of Latour de France, located in the Côtes du Roussillon. Literally translated as ‘The Tower of France’, this small village borders the ancient kingdoms of Catalonia and France. Mature vineyards lay abandoned in this area of steep, arid slopes due to the high cost of farming, thus it is the quest of the Laughton and Chapoutier families to rediscover and fully express these exceptional, low-yielding sites. This wine is the beginning of that quest.

This dynamic partnership also yielded a Shiraz vineyard in Central Victoria’s Heathcote region, the home of Jasper Hill. Planted in the spring of 1998, this tiny vineyard was established on virgin red Cambrian soils and planted with both Australian Shiraz clones, selected by Ron, and French Syrah clones, imported by Michel from cuttings off his famous Hermitage vineyard. The label depicts ‘La Pleiade’ (The Pleiades, Seven Sisters), a small, wispy star cluster in the constellation of Taurus that can be viewed by the naked eye from both partners’ home vineyards in Tain l’Hermitage and Heathcote. Revered in legends by ancient cultures of most civilisations, including the Gauls and Aboriginal Australians, the Greek mythology of the Pleiades is linked to the seven beautiful daughters of Atlas and Pleione and their pursuit by Orion.

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