A Taste of Freedom
At the heart of Languedoc, Domaine Gayda produces organic, unrestricted wines that give respect to its terroir
Nourished by the Mediterranean sun, the Languedoc region in the southernmost part of France produces some of the finest wines in the world. Blessed with ideal climate conditions for growing grapes as well as the Tramontane wind that is beneficial for the health of the vines, its soil varies greatly depending on location, which gives each winery distinct characteristics.
In the foothills of the Pyrénées, in the village of Brugairolles, lies the centuries-old estate of Domaine Gayda. It uses the elements of the region as well as hedge planting and wilding (growing other plants and trees in its unused lands) to bring back a balanced ecosystem essential for sustainable production. Meanwhile, natural compost from bovine waste enriches the soils. With the richness of the region’s terroir—not to mention the utmost care to preserve the structure of the soils and quality of the vines—the famed winery’s products exemplify the best of winemaking with minimal intervention in the vinification process.
“We are a small, passionate team focused on quality, achieving goals that we set high enough to challenge us in all we do,” said winemaker Vincent Chansault. The trio of Chansault and co-owners Trim Ford and Anthony Record acquired the estate in 2004 and since then have created wines steeped in tradition and technology. The winery continues to employ new techniques such as the use of egg fermenters and oak foudres (large wooden vats), as well as the latest available technology for blending. “We develop, innovate, and move forward with our curious minds to create our distinctive range of quality wines,” he added.
In its quest towards organic viticulture driven by its respect for the natural environment, Domaine Gayda takes
pride in its wines with “provenance” and outstanding quality—true representatives of Languedoc-Roussillon’s regional specialities.
As a fully organic vineyard unfettered by the strict laws governing the region, Domaine Gayda takes pride in its Figure Libre (freestyle) range, which are wines produced without any restrictions of the Languedoc AOC/AOP appellation. The estate infused its cuvées (a french wine term indicating the batches that come in vats) with grapes originating from the Loire Valley, particularly Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. With the owners’ faith in Languedoc’s sandstone terroir and the winemaker’s expertise in Loire Valley grapes, the Figure Libre has proven a success. Combining the subtlety of the Loire and the boldness of Languedoc, Chansault brought to the table Domaine Gayda’s very own Vin de Pays d’Oc, composed of nonconformist single varietals.
“When we travelled to Brugairolles from Cape Town, South Africa in 2003, we were struck by the influence of the Atlantic on the vineyards and its Mediterranean climate,” Chansault recounted. “We were starting with a blank canvas, and so we decided to plant the northern grape varieties Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc around the estate.”
Chenin Blanc is golden, with reflections of green. It is floral and citrusy in the nose, and boasts great complexity, freshness, and minerality. It is well-balanced in the mouth, its fruitiness enhanced by its roundness and length. It has a pleasant and fresh finish, making it an ideal companion for vegetable dishes and salads. Its oakiness and slight buttery undertone also makes it a good pairing for rich fish and cream-based chicken main dishes.
Cabernet Franc is opaque, and perfumed with fragrant black cherry, cassis, and spice. It is full-bodied and intense, with countless layers of flavour including blackcurrant, cedar, and graphite. On the palate, it is dense, and fruity, bound by a structure of fine-grained tannins and a lively acidity. This wine shows great depth and character refined by a long, elegant finish. It pairs well with grilled steaks and chops, and also with chicken, white fish, and quiche, if it is medium-bodied.
Domaine Gayda also makes a mark with its other impressive wine ranges that are rich in history and an
“We develop, innovate, and move forward with our curious minds to create our distinctive range of quality wines”
innovative spirit, such as Villa Mon Rêve, Sélection Parcellaire, Chemin de Moscou, En Passant, La Minuette, Flying Solo, T’air D’Oc, and Cépage, all encapsulating the true spirit of Languedoc. For oenophiles who are interested in visiting its lush vineyards, Domaine Gayda has a prestigious residence set amongst its vines which consists of four cottages that can accommodate up to 16 guests. The restaurant Maison Gayda and its terrace make for an exceptional environment ifor discovering the region’s food and wines. A memorable dining experience featuring the region’s best produce awaits guests every lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.
With its “Freestyle” wines, Domaine Gayda favours freedom of choice, “reflecting a desire to think outside the box and bring together grape varieties that would otherwise never have met in the same bottle,” Chansault said.
Wines featured are available at Bacchus Épicerie