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In Love In Languedoc

Clos du Gravillas is a small 15-acre winery that gives new meaning to “artisanal wine.” The project of a Franco-American couple, John and Nicole Bojanowski, it sits on a plateau 1000 feet above sea level between the Saint Chinian and Minerve Canyons in the Haut Languedoc in southwestern France.

It all began twenty years ago when Nicole Fernandez arrived in the small village of Saint Jean de Minervois. There she met John Bojanowski who had also recently arrived from Kentucky. Love and wine went hand in hand and in 1999, they got their hands on an old Carignan vine planted in 1911 as well as some Grenache Blanc and Gris. Shortly thereafter, Clos de Gravillas was born.

Since, the couple has focused exclusively on traditional Languedoc varieties, creating benchmark wines that showcase the impressive potential of carignan, expressing grace and sophistication rather than intensity. Over the years, they added a hectare of Terret Gris, a rare indigenous grape, and also Macabeo, Syrah and Cabernet.

The terroir helps in their pursuit as the cool evening winds contrasted with the hot daytime temperatures allow the grapes to balance acidity and alcohol and develop great depth of flavor.

The wines are precise, in an almost Burgundian manner, with natural, simple fruit taking centre stage. Their white “Inattendu” (Unexpected) is truly that…unexpected. Mostly grenache blanc, with some macabeo thrown in for good measure, it is a full and dry white wine, lavish on complexity and generous on fruity notes. Strong and aromatic, it is the kind of white that stands up well to big cheeses and even truffles as they come into season and most hearty winter fare.

They also make red wines that are vivid, bright, a superb expression of the much under-appreciated carignan grape.