Domaine Philémon is located in Villeneuve-sur-Vere, a small village on the Vere river in between Albi and Cordes in the northeast quadrant of the Gaillac appellation. The Vieules family have had a vineyard in Villeneuve since 1804. Today the vineyard is run by Mathieu Vieules who grows wheat, sunflowers and grapes in equal proportions. All of his land is farmed organically with the vineyard being certified in 2013. Mathieu Vieules has twenty hectares of vines in production along the Cordes plateau on south facing slopes with a calcerous soil. They are planted almost entirely to the traditional Gaillac grape varieties: Loin de L’oeil, Mauzac and Muscadelle for the whites, and Braucol (Fer Servadou), Duras and Jurancon Noir for the reds. A good proportion of the vines are more than fifty years old. The vines are trained in the gobelet fashion meaning that they are head pruned and yields are kept exceedingly low; 40 hl/h for the whites and 30hl/h for the reds. The harvest is done entirely by hand.
The Blanc Perlé, which is sometimes labeled as Gaillac fraîcheur Perlé has been produced since the 1950’s. The freshness in the wine is achieved by preserving some of the natural CO2 that occurs during the vinification. The Philémon Perlé is normally a blend of 50% Loin de L’Oeil harvested at 40hl/ha and 50% Muscadelle harvested at 30hl/ha. Certain vintages will have a small proportion of Mauzac. Because of the low yields this wine fills the palate with a wonderful concentration of flavors while retaining a freshness that is underscored by mineral and citrus notes.
Gaillac Rouge « Croix d’Azal »
The cuvée « Croix d’Azal » is produced from a one hectare planted by Mathieu in 2003. It is planted entirely with Braucol, the name used in Gaillac for the Fer Servadou grape. It is a wonderful expression of this grape variety with all of its typical spiciness and woodsy floral aromas. The word “braucol” derives from the root “brau” which in Girondin patois signifies taureau, the bull. The Croix d’Azal is no raging bull but one who lives peacefully in the pasture content to smell the flowers.
After a few years of tasting Jurançon Noir from tank and begging Mathieu Vieules to bottle it separately, he finally agreed in 2013. The grapes are hand harvested and put into the cement fermentation tank in whole clusters for a semi-carbonic fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The Jurançon Noir is an old variety local to the southwest of France. According to Jancis Robinson, it is a cross between Folle Blanche and Cot (Malbec). To produce quality wine this vigourous variety must be severely pruned and then it will produce dark, spicy and slightly bitter wine that is 11% alc, when fully ripe. The bottles are sealed with a crown cap.
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