Vincent Chansault the winemaker at Domaine Gayda told me he has been waiting 10 years to make this wine. But the dream in the name does not come from this delayed gratification, it is rather more poetic. The wine was named to honour the vignerons and villagers of La Livinière who have supported and helped them to bring their wine to life.
The Villa is a simple 100 year old stone cottage with a well and no electricity. It is no longer inhabited but all the locals remember playing there as children and it is symbolic to them. It was built by a doctor from Montpellier for his ailing wife who thought she would end her days there in peace but made a miraculous recovery prompting speculation that the site was a mini ‘Lourdes’.
The vineyard itself is a north facing slope protecting the vines from the harshest of the sun’s mid-summer rays. And at 250m altitude the combination of cool winds from the black mountains opposite and limestone soils give a thrilling energy to the wine. The soil is varied though and amongst the limestone are pockets of slate giving further complexity.
Understanding the vines has taken some time (they were planted in the early 1980s) and Vincent worked hard in the vineyard to understand what they needed. He changed the pruning from Cordon Royat to Guyot and lowered the head until finally in 2012 he felt the grapes were worthy of the site and the wine he wanted to make.
The wine is 100% Syrah and in a nod to Côte Rotie half of the bunches are left whole and topped with the remaining crushed berries – the stems were very healthy and added lift and texture to the finished wine. After a long maceration the skins were gently pressed and all the pressed wine added back in before ageing in large oak foudres for 20 months plus a further year in bottle before release.
The wine actually tastes like a labour of love with very pure aromatics (blueberries, violets, cassis and sweet dark chocolate), cool stony minerality and fine, very silky tannins which will see the wine through another 8-10 years. Although well structured it has a lightness of being – seemingly effortless despite the attention it received in its conception.
The wine is currently an IGP because according to the rules as it was made just a few miles outside of La Livinière it does not qualify for the AOP. The vignerons who make up the local authority who decide these things saw the bureaucratic nonsense of this – in a remarkably red tape free exchange – and from the next vintage Villa Mon Rêve will carry the appellation La Livinière.
This is a wonderful example of the spirit of the law triumphing over the letter of it, and a fitting end to the story of a wine named to honour the locality in which it was born.
Available through New Generation Wines
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