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translation missing: en.ACellars Newsletter, 29th July, 2021: ACellars Newsletter, 29th July, 2021

Mas de Libian

Mas de Libian

We often talk about the Côtes-du-Rhône as though it was one giant, homogenous region. In reality it is an area of land that encompasses many different climates, altitudes and soil types.

The Domaine of Mas de Libian is located in Saint Marcel d’Ardèche on the hilly western slopes of the Rhône, at the tip of the visually stunning gorge of the Ardèche. The vineyards grow high on top of an ancient river terrace that rises steeply behind the Domaine. Here the mature goblet vines of Grenache and Mourvèdre et al. bathe in the Rhône sunlight while simultaneously enjoying excellent drainage and root penetration. The altitude of the vineyards provides cool evenings, which when coupled with the rocky limestone terroir and the bracing Mistral, guarantees the wines vibrancy and freshness; traits for which this bohemian Domaine is highly respected.

The model at Mas de Libian sees the farm as a self-sustaining environment rather than a production unit. The vines are cultivated organically, hand harvested, and the soils hoed by hand and horse in the spring. Vigneron Hélène Thibon, takes little credit for her farm's organic management, which she says has been practiced here for generations. A continuation of this philosophy, and an important milestone for the Domaine, was becoming certified biodynamic in 2005. No chemicals are used, and even in generous vintages very low yields are the norm. As the Mas de Libian biotope has come to offer an incredibly healthy environment for grape growing, Hélène has little recourse for sulphur, which is often not used at all during the winemaking process. The wines are crafted in unlined concrete vats with – cuvée depending – a portion of each wine being aged in large old foudres or older demi-muids. There are no yeast additions and sulphur additions are kept to the barest minimum. The wines are never fined or filtered. The hallmark of Mas de Libian is silky, low yield concentration parried by vibrancy and vitality of fruit; these are pure, brightly fruited and perfumed wines that clearly reflect an intuitive and honest dedication to the Domaine’s stony terroir and gnarled old goblet vines. All the factors outlined above, and the quality of the wines that arise, make Mas de Libian one of the most exciting addresses of the Southern Rhône.

Mas de Libian wines can be found here.

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The Lockdown Top 10

It looks like we're all going to be in this for a while yet.

So we've put together a list of ten of the best-value wines going around. All of these are absolute standouts, and the best part is they won't hit the pocket too hard! Each wine in the list is $35 or under (and even cheaper in a mixed six pack!).

So hit the button below, mix up a lockdown survival pack, batten down the hatches, and let the vino flow!

The top ten are here.