For over 20 years, Guilhem Dardé meticulously tended his family vineyards and brought his grapes to the local coop to be blended with the overproduction of his neighbors. Finally, he bought winemaking equipment, scandalized the village and struck out on his own. With the 1993 vintage, he tasted his own wine for the first time.
A self-described paysan-vigneron, Dardé approaches vinification with enthusiasm. His “Nuit Grave“ is a blend of about 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 5% each Cinsault and Mourvèdre; the proportions vary according to the vintage. This wine is dark purple, with a ripe nose of cloves, cinnamon and coffee, is spicy and concentrated on the palate. The considerable amount of tannin is balanced by rich, soft matter and the finish is long, with notes of licorice, coffee and kirsch. This wine is aged in barriques and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The abundance of pigments and solid matter results in a noticeable sediment in the bottle.
Traditional methods are used in the vineyards: plowing, only copper and sulfur treatments, and manual harvesting. In this remote corner of the Coteaux-du-Languedoc appellation, vines grow on strips of clay/schist/granite soils forming terraces on the arid, strikingly red slopes (which indicates decomposed basaltic slate, colored by iron). Poor soil and dry harsh weather conditions ensure low yields and high concentration.
The name of the estate means House of Chimeras, and aptly describes the amount of faith, dreaming and daring it took Dardé to change his life and become a winemaker.
The soil’s deep red color is due to its high content of iron and oxide. Blocks of basalt (black stone) are present from the volcanic eruptions of vallée du Salagou.
All the grapes hand harvested are destemmed. The different varieties are vinified separately in tank with varying lengths of elevage. The wine is then aged in 400L, 500L and 600L old oak barrels for 12 months.