Salon Vinocap in Cap d'Agde: the endearing Mas de la Draille, perched on the heights of Montagnac

Salon Vinocap in Cap d'Agde: the endearing Mas de la Draille, perched on the heights of Montagnac

Laurent et Audrey Paillet dans les vignes plantées sur un plateau qui domine Montagnac et Aumes. MIDI LIBRE – OLIVIER RAYNAUD

The 15th edition of the most important wine tourism fair in the south of France will take place from Thursday May 9 to Saturday May 11, on the quays of the Center-Port du Cap, where more than a hundred exhibitors are expected. . Until then, Midi Libre invites you to meet several of its actors. Today Audrey and Laurent Paillet… as well as their little pigs!

That day, a strange commotion caught our attention when we arrived at the brand new cellar still under construction at Mas de la Draille. There, in a makeshift enclosure, two little Kune Kune pigs of New Zealand origin are gently acquainted with their new environment, before being herded into the vineyards. Pigs in the vineyards ? "This is done in Alsace, a bit in our region", confirms Laurent Paillet, the owner. "These are herbivorous pigs, which will weed some of my plots and aerate the soil. It is a low breed, which does not eat vine leaves." He will go and get three more in the coming weeks, a sign that on this plateau which dominates Montagnac, we cultivate our difference.

A field that is moving forward step by step

If we had to describe Laurent's journey, one word would come to mind: progressive. Coming from a Florensac family who was immersed in wine, our man started out in 2001, bringing his entire harvest to a cooperative cellar. But when you have as a childhood friend a certain Jocelyn Delmas, who presides over the destiny of the estate of the same name with his brother Fabrice, in Saint-Thibéry, you can count on the advice of a winegrower to say the least competent. "I wanted to come full circle by making my wine and Jocelyn taught me how to do it."

Three hectares at the start, twenty-three today

From three hectares, the Mas de la Draille has grown to 23 today, with a few olive trees to diversify production. "Our first vintage dates from 2012 and since then, we've been moving forward." Step by step, always. The buried cellar gives a glimpse of real possibilities while the sales cellar will emerge from the ground in a few months, at the same time as a splendid terrace with a view of the Thau basin. I might as well tell you right away, the “spot” will be earned. Because in this place a little cut off from the world, access is not easy. But the terroir alone is worth the trip… and it's not from today.

The memory of the transhumance of the sheep

Because the Mas de la Draille does not bear its name by chance. "We are right next to the transhumance path of the herds (a trail, therefore) of Larzac sheep which, ;rsquo;winter, came down to feed", explains Laurent, not a little proud of this heritage. Aveyron, Lozère, regions that he knows well since in 2006, he created a wine trading activity in parallel, in order to diversify his outlets, well supported by his wife Audrey who, supreme sacrilege, does not drink wine! Which does not prevent the former home help, who joined the family estate around fifteen years ago, from participating in the spring work in the vineyard and taking care of the entire administrative part, which is not an easy task.

A production of 10,000 bottles per year

If part of the production is still sold at the Montagnac cooperative cellar, Laurent and Audrey today market 10,000 bottles per year. Wines that can be found in the network of wine merchants, but also in several restaurants in the region. And this is just the beginning, you get the idea.

Caridou and K-Yasse : watch out for nuggets!

No wood, vat aging and an explosion of fruit! Upon tasting, the estate's two reds were undeniably seductive. Notably the Caridou (9 €), named after the passages that the sheep made in the vineyards, a 100% Carignan which does honor to this grape variety too long associated with mass viticulture, from a vine of 87 years old! Its little white brother (8 €) exists, but we were unable to taste it because it was not at the right temperature, unlike the other red cuvée, K-Yasse, a seductive blend of Mourvède (70%) and Grenache (30%), sold at the price of 15 € the bottle.

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