It was an old friend of one of our winemakers who first recommended Montirius, and how glad we are that we followed it up. Meeting Eric and Christine Saurel for the first time we were immediately impressed by the warmth of their welcome and the quality of their wine. Thanks in no small part to the regime of biodynamic viticulture the wines have a delicious and distinctive flavour – you can taste the terroir in every mouthful. Many visits and three years later (we never rush these things) they produced for Partners exclusive cuvées of two of the Rhône’s most famous wines: Gigondas and Vacqueyras.
The Montirius domaine is quite a large one, spread out over the incredibly beautiful countryside around Gigondas and Vacqueyras. The ever-present Dentelles de Montmirail offer an amazing backdrop to the vineyards and a visit to the region is unforgettable. Eric and Christine tend their vines following strict biodynamic principles, involving not only complete respect for the environment by the elimination of all chemical pesticides, but also a requirement to be in tune with the solar calendar which influences the best time to perform all the various vineyard tasks. To farm in this way takes single-minded dedication, and the benefits do not appear overnight – Eric’s father started the process in 1980 when he stopped using artificial fertilizer. The conversion of the domaine culminated with certification by ECOCERT (the leading organic certification body) in 1996 and the first vintage of truly biodynamic wine was produced in 1999.
Since then the results speak for themselves: a Gold Medal at France’s premier biodynamic wine tasting, the Concours National des Vins Biologiques; numerous medals at London’s International Wine Challenge, the world’s most prestigious blind wine tasting; and regular ratings in Decanter magazine’s ‘Top 50 Best Value Wines’ and Wine Spectator of America’s ‘Top 100 Wines Worldwide’.