Domaine de Nizas Languedoc Rouge 2004
#78 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2008
Located near the medieval village of Pézenas in the heart of the Languedoc region, Domaine de Nizas was established in 1998 by Franco-American agriculturist, John Goelet, a member of a distinguished family in Bordeaux. With Bernard Portet at his side, a fellow visionary in the world of wine rooted in respect for tradition, they shared a driving ambition to create great wines in exceptional terroirs. This led to the creation of Clos du Val in Napa Valley as well as Taltarni and Clover Hill in Australia. Portet identified the terroir around Pézenas as one of extraordinary promise. Individual plots which represented three different soil types, or terroirs, were acquired to create Domaine de Nizas which would allow them to craft high-quality artisanal wines that express the spirit of the Mediterranean. Portet then worked with the local team on a major replanting to match the right grape varietals to the different terroirs. In 2018 the iconic French winemaker François Lurton took the helm of all viticultural and winemaking activities
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.