People who have been around the wine block a few times know there are a couple of unavoidable truths floating about, namely that (1) Bandol wines from Domaine Tempier are among the world’s hottest collectibles and (2) Terrasses du Larzac is becoming one of the trendiest, buzzed-about regions in France. That’s what makes today’s offer such a rousing wine—it fuses both of them together!
Not only is Mas des Brousses’ winemaker the grandson of legendary Lucien Peyraud (the late and great apostle for Tempier), the Mourvèdre in today’s wine comes from Domaine Tempier cuttings! And what of southern France’s fast-emerging Terrasses du Larzac? This fabled region holds winemaking history dating back to the Romans and, like trendy pop-up restaurants, a flurry of avant-garde producers have emerged with extraordinary wines. Exhibit A: Mas des Brousses. In an exploding region quickly filling up with elite wines and culty labels, this is the be-all and end-all value label. It has the critical acclaim to back that up too: Be it Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, or that one guy you know who won’t stop talking about it (that would be us), this rich, texturally deep insider value is one for the ages.
In the sprawling, vastly misunderstood Languedoc, many subregions took decades to receive their AOC title (e.g. Corbières, Picpoul de Pinet), but Terrasses du Larzac shattered the record, receiving their appellational title in just four years time. While the ancient winemaking history here certainly helped, it was mostly due to the sheer number of passionate producers that recently stormed onto the scene and began churning out organically farmed, world-class wines.
Power couple Lucien and Lulu Peyraud (Lulu will turn 102 in December!) were responsible for catapulting Domaine Tempier into stardom and generating buzz for the entire region of Bandol. Lucien’s simple, straightforward motto was “Plant Mourvèdre” and his fierce advocacy for the region and this mystical terroir is a major reason why we’re able to enjoy the wines of Bandol today. Bottom line: Being a member of the Peyraud family means something. Their grandson, Xavier Peyraud, knew this when he set out to form Mas des Brousses. On top of the immense winemaking prowess he learned while growing up in and around Domaine Tempier, he was able to take something much more literal: vine cuttings. With his wife Géraldine—whose own family has been farming in Terrasses du Larzac for nearly 500 years—he brought authentic Tempier Mourvèdre cuttings to supplement their own vineyard.
Their “Terrasses du Larzac” bottling is an equal blend of these coveted Mourvèdre vines and Syrah. Farming is done organically—manual plowing, zero chemical, hand harvesting—and yields are kept extremely low in order to select the best possible fruit. In the winery, an extended fermentation is carried out in stainless steel and the resulting wine is transferred into 400-liter barrels. After 13 months of aging, the wine is bottled unfiltered.
Mas des Brousses’ 2016 reveals a dense dark ruby core with slight crimson reflections. Every time you nose the wine, it radiates with hedonistic, high-toned aromatics. A combination of black cherry liqueur, ripe bramble berries, black currant, juicy plums, and huckleberry burst out, quickly followed by garrigue, scorched earth, raw leather, damp violets, mint, and a dusting of baking spices. As the wine opens up in a large Bordeaux stem, it gives us a breathtaking view into what's under the hood. It’s a powerful red full of lush fruit and vivid minerality that extend each sip into a long, savory finish. Rounded tannins only add to the luxuriousness, but there’s no saturated feeling here—it’s incredibly energetic and light on its feet. Place Mas des Brousses in a blind tasting with $50+ southern French reds and it’ll do more than hold its own: I bet many would label it as the top performer. Nothing about this wine says $25!
Terrasses du Larzac
Mourvèdre & Syrah
400-Liter French Barrels