Mas de Daumas Gassac 2017 white the best ever?

Basile Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac believes that the 2017 vintage of the Gassac white could be the best ever produced by the Languedoc estate, despite a string of weather hazards including frost and drought that battered the region this year.

The 2017 vintage of Mas de Daumas white

A blend of 32.5 % Petit Manseng, 21 % Viognier, 20.1% Chardonnay, 11.9 % Chenin Blanc, 6.4 % Muscat Petit Grains & Muscat of Alexandria in addition to 8.1% of rare grape varieties, the white is described by Guibert as having more floral notes compared with its usually predominant tropical notes.

“My feeling is the main adjective behind 2017 red is ‘power’ and for white is ‘complexity’,” he commented when speaking to dbHK. 

Explaining the quality of the vintage, he admitted that the vines after experiencing last year’s extreme heat in August, have been stressed, and the unusual April frost in Languedoc and ensuing drought from June to September added further distress to the vines.

Continuing he noted that the vines, however, produced smaller and more concentrated berries, “that’s why 2017 is a pure bomb of concentration and power, and white is very delicate with refined aromas,” he stated.

Additionally, for the whites, the cold air from the Larzac wafting into High Valley du Gassac gave some relief to the vines as well even in the height of the summer.

This year, the winery suffered around 35% production loss because of the climate challenges. White wine production hovers around 50,000 bottles and 80,000-90,000 bottles for the reds, he added. The usual production for its ‘grand vin’ wines numbers around 100,000-120,000 bottles for reds and 70,000-75,000 for whites.

Referring to the white as “absolutely mind-blowing”, he said, “2017 could be the best [for white]. I love the 1996 and 2009 for different reasons. They bring what the vintage brought us. They are really the expression of the Gassac valley.”

Four brothers, Samuel, Gaël, Roman and Basile, have been working in the Domaine and managing it since 2000.

Earlier in September and October, the winery held a pre-sale, and sold all the production of 2017 white and 2016 red, the vintner revealed. The winery allocated 11,000 bottles for the export market, but received orders for close to 25,000 bottles. “Therefore we had to reduce drastically the allocation of our importer around the world,” he added.

Having an export presence in over 70 different countries, the vintner is actively participating in trade shows, tastings and wine dinners in Asia this month including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hong Kong and Singapore, to increase the brand’s visibility.

Despite being called the “Lafite of the Languedoc” and a ‘grand cru’ winery in the region, compared with its more known French counterparts in Bordeaux or Burgundy the winery still has a long way to go in building its brand awareness in markets like Asia.

“We are not the sexy region like Bordeaux or Burgundy. My job is to create a little space for richness that Languedoc makes serious wines and can keep in your cellar for a long time,” said Guibert.

In addition to its grand vin Gassac range, the winery also produces a second range called Moulin de Gassac. Mas de Daumas Gassac is available in Hong Kong through Altaya Wines.

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