Domaine Laffont has become one of Madiran's most highly regarded properties. This cru confidential is located next to Domaine Labranche-Laffont, and undoubtedly at some point the two properties were divided between the families Labranche and Laffont.
Pierre Speyer, Didier Barre, and Guy Capmartin — the Three Musketeers of Madiran in 2004 Laffont's owner is now Pierre Speyer, a Belgian native who also runs a successful company that supplies dolly equipment to the film industry. Being Belgian, he is well-versed in wine (empty bottles of great wines from around the world sit atop his mantle), and has always a big fan of large, well-structured wines like those in the Southwest.
Charles Martin of Château de la Colline, Michel Duffour of Domaine Duffour, and Pierre Speyer of Domaine Laffont
So much did Pierre like these wines that he bought the small domaine in Maumusson — the hotbed of Madiran — in the early nineties. Totalling just 3.9 hectares (9.5 acres), it is small enough for Pierre and one employee to be in complete control of the vines, vinification, elevage and bottling.
Pierre makes a number of fantastic Madirans, as well as whites under the Pacherenc du Vic Bilh AOC.
Organic FarmingLaffont's vines face south and southeast, and are planted on limestone and gravel based soil. Since his first harvest, Pierre has adhered to organic farming, working the soil naturally and attempting to keep vine treatments to a minimum. In 2005, he made the plunge, deciding to work his vines organically while continuing to nurture the earth with compost, manually remove leaves, spray with an organic Bordeaux mixture, and follow the phases of the moon.
Vinarchists Unlike some outsiders who purchase wineries in France, have connections with the press, and frequently alienate themselves from the locals, Pierre has ingratiated himself with many neighboring winemakers and others around Southern France. Part of this has to do with his connection to the Belgian group Vinarchists, whose members include Fredo Ribes, Charles Martin, Yves Gras, and Pierre Clavel among others.
Or it might have to do with the fact that Speyer is quick to laugh and pull out a smoke — a real Belgian bon vivant! Most probably, however, it has to do with the fact that Pierre always has some Belgian beer on tap...
Pierre Speyer, Didier Barre, and Guy Capmartin
the Three Musketeers of Madiran in 2004
Domaine Laffont Madiran Erigone
Erigone is the name of the sultry goddess seduced by Dionysus. This is a cuvée made with 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Franc. The Tannat vines average 45 years of age, and the Cabernet Franc between 25 and 30. Harvest is strictly manual, and yields average 35 hl / ha (just over two tons to the acre). The grapes are brought to the chai where they are stored in small trays in a refrigerated area. Afterwards, all the grapes are destemmed, then pass through a sorting table manned by several people who reject any grapes not worthy.
The grapes descend into wooden tanks by gravity, where they undergo a cold macération for several days. The tanks are heated and the fermentation begins. No additional yeasts are added. There is no pumping over, but pigeage or punch downs take place once or twice a day. The cuvaison is long, lasting more or less five weeks.
The wine then goes into barrel. Erigone goes into second- and third-use barrels, which round it out while giving it some creamy oak and spice notes. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel, yielding excellent integration of oak and wine. The élevage takes place in oak for sixteen months, and the wine is bottled without fining or filtration.
Domaine Laffont Madiran Hécate
Hécate is the goddess of the crossroads. This is Pierre's top red wine, made with 100% Tannat (at 2 hl / ha or two tons an acre) and aged in 100% new oak. The élevage is similar to Erigone, except that the wines sojourn in oak lasts 20 months. Like Erigone, it is bottled without any fining or filtration. It is the Lord of darkness, the harvester of sorrow, full-throttle, kick-ass Tannat!
Domaine Laffont Pacherenc du Vic Bilh
This excellent Pacherenc du Vic Bilh is produced on the property from 100% Petit Manseng. The grapes are harvested in November and aged in 225-liter oak barrels for six months. Unlike the former wine, this one is sweet and unctuous, and goes out to the ladies in the audience.
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Domaine Laffont Madiran