Justin Keay’s Top 10 Domaine Gayda wines from its 1st UK range tasting

Domaine Gayda already has an international reputation as one of the most interesting and dynamic wine estates in the Languedoc – favouring the IGP system where it can have more creative freedom with its winemaking than the restrictions of AOP. Justin Keay, who had not tried the range before, talks to the winery’s Tim Ford and Vincent Chansault and picks out his Top 10 wines from Gayda’s first solus UK portfolio tasting including the new Altre Cami Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir.

mm By Justin Keay
April 20, 2022

“So good steady growth, achieved without sacrificing quality or the great character and individuality of the range. Sounds like a plan to me,” writes Keay.

Mention Languedoc to any experienced wine drinker and they will talk value for money, uncomplicated fruit-forward styles and size: even without Roussillon, from which it was formally separated six years ago, this is probably the world’s largest wine producing region, with 30,000 growers, 300 cooperatives and 23 appellations making very different types of wines, alongside the IGPs.

A lot of the most exciting wines are IGP Pays d’Oc, which is getting a deserved reputation for, amongst other things, quality pink wines, increasingly made from single varieties (including Carignan, Grenache and Petit Verdot). These are individualistic, often small producer wines and well priced to give Provence a run for its money.

But amidst all this, it’s reassuring to come across a good benchmark IGP producer to help give some definition to this vast region. And whilst Domaine Gayda is obviously a much smaller operation than say, Gerard Bertrand or Paul Mas, exciting things are happening here as I found when I caught up with them in London.

Established in 2003 some 25 kilometers south-west of Carcassone on a site which previously grew sunflowers, Domaine Gayda’s intention always was to do things a little differently. They make a variety of wines at different price points, reflecting four distinct terroirs. Brugairolles, where the winery was built, and where winemaker Vincent Chansault opted unusually to plant, amongst other varieties, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc (Chansault is originally from the Loire and admits he couldn’t leave these beloved varieties behind), also the fruit for Gayda’s flagship red, Chemin du Moscou, named after the road which leads to the winery.

Managing director Tim Ford admits the wine’s name is currently causing a few ruffles in the UK and other markets, given the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine, but hopes things will settle down.

“Particularly in France, where many of the top restaurants have listed it since our first vintage back in 2007, this wine is extremely well known. It has a reputation that somehow goes beyond its name,” he says, (in the UK, Majestic sells Chemin du Moscou for £24.99).

In La Livinière Gayda makes La Minuette, a Provence-style rose and their only appellation wine, the delicious AOP Minervois Syrah-based Villa Mon Reve; and to the south, Latour de France and Col de la Dona, actually in Roussillon, where Syrah and Grenache have been planted.

So how were the wines? …