Terre des Dames: Ladies Changing the Languedoc

Lidewijvan Wilgen aka Lee, made a career for herself in marketing in Holland and during that time developed a keen interest in wine with an eye on the new world of wine in France, the Languedoc.  Lee and her family of three daughters (les dames) uprooted themselves for a massive sea-change,and in 2002 moved into an 18th-century farmhouse surrounded by its own vineyards between the town Beziers and the Faugeres village.  In 2005 Lee obtained a degree in vinification and oenology, and became the winemaker of Terre des Dames.  The fourteen hectares are farmed organically,and the wines are certified by Ecocert. Lee’s oldest vineyard, the Allicante Henri Bouchet, is 100 years old,the old vine Carignan and Grenache are 70 years, and she has now planted new vineyards, adding Mouvèdre and expanding the Grenache Blanc vines.  All harvesting is by hand, fermentation is with wild indigenous yeast, and there is a feminine poise and elegance rarely seen amongst an ocean of high-alcohol, over-ripe, over-worked bigger-is-better Languedoc wines.

Terre des Dames Le Blanc 2016 VdP 100% Grenache Blanc.  Young Grenache Blanc from vineyard laden with fossilised oyster shells, wild yeast fermented and 50% aged in puncheons. Floral aromatics, fresh and mineral with an elegant structure. Could rival many petit-chablis in this style, and blows away the bulk of Grenache Blanc blends from the Sud.

 Terre des Dames La Diva Blanche2016 VdP (favourite wine of the range)100% Grenache Blanc.  Under Wax Seal.  True to the terroir and her vision for wine,Lee ignores the appellation blending rules and bottles a 100% Grenache Blanc unlike any I have tasted, and takes on a mineral laden Burgundian precision.  The Grenache blanc is from the old vines with fossil soils, wild fermented and aged in demi-muid.  Organic viticulture, low-yield old vine Grenache Blanc grown on fossilised soils, this wine is great expression of a wine made in the vineyard.   Floral aromatics and mineral terroir expression leap from the white gold in the glass, the racy minerality careens across the palate with a taut acidity and lingers in a long dry complex finish.  Sure to convert many white burglovers too.

Terre des Dames La Dame 2015 VdP Grenache (50%), Carignan (30%), Syrah (20%).  Hand harvested, wild yeast fermented separately, pigeage during ferment, ageing in oak and concrete.  Low yielding old vines make up the lions share of La Dame, and thankfully a very modern Languedoc expression with alight, ruby glow, and vibrant floral aromatics, and a palate of cherry,blackberry, and raspberry, and licorice spice but there is a nice structure to the supple elegant body that leads to blooming tannins on the finish.  A perfect summer barbecue wine in perfect balance.

Terre des Dames La Diva 2014 VdP Syrah (55%)Grenache (30%) Alicante (15%).  A rare blend for this red, including fruit from 100yo Alicante vines.  Wild yeast fermentation, maturation in large oak barrels for 12 months.  Aromatics of stony mineral, smoked charcuterie, cassis and licorice spice translate to the palate seamlessly and lead to a long soft tannin finish.  Great structural elements to this wine as it rolls out across the palate,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s