Domaine La Terrasse d’Elise – Xavier Braujou – Saint-Jean-de-Fos
La Terrasse d’Elise is no real discovery any more. During a blind testing with Antoine Petrus, the sommelier of Le Crillon, the ‘Elise 2003’ cuvée had outclassed ‘La Grange des Pères’ considered the greatest wine from Languedoc. As for me, I am a regular customer of the Domaine’s cuvées of Carignan and Cinsault. Created by Xavier Braujou between Saint-Jean-de-Fos and Aniane, the estate comprises today around 40 acres. Heir of a family of wine-growers producing for a ‘cave coopérativé’, Xavier, conscious of the value of this terroir of clay-limestone, silex and pebbles, decided to produce his first cuvée ‘Elise’ (Syrah) in 1998. Others would follow: in 2001, ‘Le Pradel’ (Cinsault) and ‘Le Pigeonnier’, in 2006, ‘XB’ (young vines of Syrah), and in 2011, ‘L’Enclos’ (Mourvèdre). I met Xavier in mid October, at his wine storehouse; though he was busy finishing harvesting and already into vinification process, he very kindly found time to allow me to discover his new bottles. The palette is extremely coherent, the wines are always subtle, straightforward, and never altered by new wood.
If by any chance, the idea of going to Saint James of Compostela through Via Tolosana (the southernmost way in France) crosses your mind, and if your legs feel like jelly around Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, don’t hesitate to make a (very) little detour to salute Xavier Braujou in Saint-Jean-de-Fos. The man will know how to fill your wineskin with the right stuff.
Xavier has an independent nature, he does not present his wines to the jurys of the INAO (National Institute of the Labels of Origins), he does not like reglementations or controls of all kinds. He has a passion for his vines and does not really see why he should certify his productions ‘Agriculture Biologique.’
Vinification from indigenous yeasts, non filtered wines.