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What’s up, Languedoc?

As connoisseurs look beyond Bordeaux for value, fine wines from less celebrated regions are coming to the fore – enter cult Languedoc producer Domaine de la Granges des Pères.

Domaine de la Granges des Peres

Domaine de la Granges des Pères

At iDealwine, the vast majority of lots auctioned come from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône. In 2015, they accounted for 54%, 24% and 11%, respectively, of total hammer value, leaving a limited, if rising, proportion to other regions.

However, many sharp wine connoisseurs who browse our catalogues are also looking for wines from regions off the beaten track. Recent surges in price of grands crus from traditional appellations have encouraged bidders to open their minds to other options. Clos Rougeard is a typical example – highly sought-after at auction and a cult reference from the Loire.

In Languedoc, Grange des Pères repeatedly appears as a strong performer in our sales reports, exceeding its price estimate sale after sale. Despite the limited number of bottles produced, we are lucky to feature several vintages of both red and white in our bi-monthly auctions.

After having trained with some of the most iconic producers, such as Jean-François Coche-Dury, Gérard Chave and Eloi Dürrbach, Laurent Vaillé came back to his roots in Aniane, where Daumas Gassac was already on the radar of many wine lovers.

He started the success story of Domaine de La Grange des Pères with the 1992 vintage.

Planted on rocky soils of clay and limestone, the vineyards of Grange des Pères are spread across 11 hectares at about 300m above the sea level. The main red varieties are Syrah – possibly reflecting Vaillé’s experience at Chave – Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre and Counoise, while the whites are largely dominated by Roussanne (nearly 70%), Chardonnay, Marsanne and Gros Manseng.

Vaillé is a great believer in keeping yields low to maximise concentration and fruit quality. Despite following organic and biodynamic principles, he does not seek certification because he does not want this to dictate quality or style. Grapes are picked ripe, de-stemmed and undergo natural fermentation. His wines are aged separately for 24 months, on average, in two-thirds new oak barrels. The result is expressive, rich wines with great ageing potential.

Top Vin de Pays

Though all the domaine’s vines are planted in AOC Coteaux du Languedoc, the presence of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend precludes using the appellation. Instead the wine is classified Vin de Pays.

The domaine only produces between 1,200 and 2,400 cases of red and no more than 200 cases of white. With such limited quantities, the wine is unavailable at the property and its success has resulted in the double effect of growing export market and rising prices.

Whereas demand is mostly from French wine amateurs, there is now a growing number of bidders – a mix of private individuals and trade professionals – from the rest of Europe and Asia.

When talking to some of our customers in Shanghai and Singapore, we were surprised to hear the name Grange des Pères come up repeatedly. The chart immediately above showing the price evolution of the 2005 vintage gives a clear illustration of the rising value of Grange des Pères at auction over recent years. Similar upward trends are observed across all wines from La Grange des Pères: since 2009, the 1998 red gained 145% to €169 and the white 2005 white 190% to €144.

The wines of Laurent Vaillé are clearly approaching cult status, setting many price records – yet the auctions of May and June indicate that the wines have reached a plateau with price stabilising.

La Grange des Pères is nevertheless a wine to watch, together with a few others from the region such as La Pèira, Peyre Rose, Moncalmès and Mas Jullien, which have not necessarily reached the same price levels but are following the footsteps of arguably one of the most iconic Languedoc producers.

Price evolution of Grange des Pères, selected vintages (2009-16)

Wine iDealwine price at end of 2010 (€) Current iDealwine price (€) Change (%)
Red – 1995 77 156 103
Red – 1998 69 169 145
Red – 2001 72 162 125
White – 2000 80 148 84
White – 2003 58 129 124
White – 2005 50 144 190

About iDealwine.com

  • iDealwine is an international fine wine e-merchant with offices in Paris, Hong Kong and London. Specialising in online auctions and fixed-price sales, iDealwine was launched in France in 2000 and is now the online auction leader in Europe, supplying to 45 different countries across Europe, Asia and the US.
  • Wine is sourced from private European cellars and directly from the wineries, with a large range that includes rare bottles and vintages.
  • iDealwine also provides wine market data and analysis, with over 60,000 price estimates based on more than 3 million auction prices.
  • UK contact: Arthur de Lencquesaing – arthur@idealwine.com

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