Loin de L’Oeil, Domaine Gayrard, 2019
Grape: Loin de L’Oeil
Suitable for Vegans: No
Food pairing: A wonderful aperitif, works very well with goats’ cheese mousses, or even an apple tart.
Situated upon a limestone plateau, in the foothills of the Causses de Quercy, Domaine Gayrard has stood as a symbol of this exceptional terroir for over five centuries. In the 1950s, Maurice Gayrard began the production of wines at the property, becoming one of the first producers to bottle wine in Gaillac. During the 1990s, the estate went through a short period of cereal cultivation, however in 2013, Pierre and Laure Fabre returned to their ancestor’s estate and restored it back to a vineyard, with the replanting of indigenous varietals. In 2018, the vines of the former Château Moussans were incorporated into the estate, bringing older vines from a different terroir. Today the estate extends over 30 hectares; it has been certified organic since 2020 and cultivated biodynamically since 2019. Pierre and Laure produce Gaillac wines from long-lost indigenous varietals, such as Braucol and Loin d’Oeil.
This cuvée is produced from a parcel of old vines, from the local Gaillac variety Loin d’Oeil (sometimes known as Len de l’El). The name translates as ‘Far from the Eye’, referring to the long stalks which attach to the fruiting cane, being further away from the bud or ‘eye’ (l’oeil) than other varieties. The shallow limestone soil of this historic parcel imparts a bright and refreshing acidity to the white wines. The plot benefits from the warmth of the Mediterranean climate, tempered by oceanic breezes that keep the vineyard healthy by aerating the vines. The vineyard is in conversion to organic status; no herbicides or insecticides are used and the vines are manually tended with leaf removal and green harvesting taking place by hand. Constantly striving to improve the natural balance between soil, flora and fauna, practices that respect the environment are employed; with cover crops in the vineyard, natural fertilisers to nourish the soils and silica treatments to help strengthen the vigour of the vines. The fruit is hand-harvested at optimal maturity.
The grapes were vinified in the gravity-fed winery. The berries were pressed without destemming and fermented with wild yeasts in seasoned casks of one to three years, at temperatures of 16 to 18°C. Maturation took place on the lees in 400 litre French oak barrels of one to three years’ use, with stirring four to five times to impart complexity. Maturation lasted for 12 months, concluding just before the next harvest.