Eric Saurel is the fifth generation to run the Montirius Domaine, taking over in 1996 from his father, Max. It was Eric's grandfather, Paul Seignour, who joined the Vacqueyras co-operative in 1947, after the Second World War had left France in ruins. Vacqueyras is in southern Rhone close to Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
In 1980, Max made a decision that was not only unheard of, it was called revolutionary. He decided to stop using chemical fertilizers. Sixteen years later, they were one of the firsts in the the Rhone to be classified organic and biodynamic.
Up to this time they were using the facilities at the co-op, but now they had the resources to build their own winery and take the domaine to a new level. The winery is an ecological wonder. Most of the transmission of the grapes and juice takes place via gravity, resulting in the most minimal of disruption in the winemaking process. They are also able to harvest their entire vineyard at the same time without rushing the process. It's this attention and commitment that defines and refines the wines they produce.
The blend here is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, similar to most of the wines in the area. What is not similar is that the average age of the vines is 65 years! Vines of this age produce less than half the amount they did 30 years earlier. But the magnitude of the wine is incredible. Lush mouthfeel with spicy berry and earth tones beg for roasted or braised meats and game.