Domaine Famille Ligneres Las Vals Blanc 2002
Blend: Roussanne 70%, Grenache Gris 30%
From the Roman fort perched on the crag of the Roc de Rolland (Charlemagne's companion), the view over Las Vals (Little Valley in local dialect) is breathtaking and allows one to understand the unique character of this terroir. The Lignères' own "love at first site" occurred here when Suzette acquired the upper terrace and planted 15 hectares of vines. 15 years later her sons Jean and Paul also fell in love with the little valley at their feet. Las Vals: the family's pride and joy.
The Ligneres family's ties to the wine world can be traced back to the sixteenth century, but it was in 1957 that André and Suzette Ligneres bought the domaine. André's parents were from Moux and Fontcouverte, the two villages on either side of the estate and already had vineyards in both villages as well as a négociant business in Moux. Since then they have gradually expanded the domaine, acquiring the most attractive terroirs bordering on the estate, particularly Las Vals. Throughout this period the assistance of Marc Dubernet was invaluable in helping develop the domaine's wines.
In 2002, Richard Marlowe, an incredible wine-specialist and a faithful "fan" of Domaine Ligneres, organized a meeting with the renowned Tuscan wine consultant Stefano Chioccioli. He knew Stefano could understand their concept of "terroir", i.e. trying to produce wines with more of everything – weight, aroma, dimension, focus, varietal definition, and most importantly, allowing the terroir to shine through in every cuvee.
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.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions. Typically some combination of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation. Somm Secret—In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common but the south retains more variety. Marsanne, Roussanne as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc are typical.