In 1996 John and Nicole Bojanowski, a young Franco-American couple, purchased Clos de Gravillas in the Minervois region of southwestern France and embarked upon a journey of making wine to best reflect the terroir of limestone gravel of their vineyards where grapes have been grown for hundreds of years.
Perched on a plateau at an elevation of almost 1000′, this 15-acre winery lies between the St. Chinian and Minerve canyons in the Parc Naturel of the Haut Languedoc just south of the Black Mountains. This location provides cool evening winds that let the grapes better retain their acidity and the hot summer temperatures assure the development of the necessary alcohol to balance acidity. This element of their terroir helps the grapes develop maximum depth of flavor.
The estate’s oldest vines are carignan, dating to 1911 and 1970 and a small parcel of grenache gris. In 1996 they planted syrah, cabernet, and mourvedre, with the first harvest taking place in 2006.
The heart of their wine making is the often maligned and under-appreciated carignan grape
Ratings and Reviews from March 2012 of Jeb Dunnuck’s Rhone Report:
Clos du Gravillas
2009 Clos du Gravillas Minervois L’inattendu Red 91
2007 Domaine du Gravillas Lo Veilh Red 93
Clos du Gravillas Minervois L’inattendu (France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois) A serious white, the 2009 Clos du Gravillas Minervois L’inattendu is an outstanding blend of Grenache Blanc that’s fermented and aged in barrel, on lees, for 12 months. It delivers a decidedly rich, yet beautifully pure and mineral-driven profile, possessing crisp, slightly honeyed fruits, lemon curd, brioche, flowers, and dried stone like aromas that flow to a medium-bodied, concentrated, and yet fantastically fresh, and elegant palate. Improving in the glass, this is an impressive wine, which given the acidity and concentration, should have an aging profile similar to a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, with 2-3 years of prime drinking now, and then again at age 6-7. Very well done and worth checking out! (91 pts.)
2007 Domaine du Gravillas Lo Veilh (France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Brian) Coming from just 2 hectares of Carignan vines that were planted between 1911 and 1970, the stunning 2007 Clos du Gravillas Lo Veilh, aged for 13-14 months in 400L French oak, boasts a knockout bouquet of smoked black cherries, plum, saddle leather, wild Provencal herbs, lead pencil, and loads of spice. Impressively balanced, with solid depth and concentration that’s balanced by juicy acidity and notable purity of fruit, this top-notch, medium to full-bodied Languedoc can be consumed now, or cellared for 5-6 years. (93 pts.)