July 2017 – Domaine des Homs – Minervois !

Hameau des Homs heart of Minervois

In this report from our recent vineyard visit you will find :
  • A description of the Domaine’s location and parcels
  • Goblet trained vines on trellis
  • A note on the 2017 vintage – reasonable heat without drought
  • Typicity of the terroir and soils
  • Tasting notes on wines available today

Tasting : Domaine Des Homs
26 Juillet, 2017

The 5th “genuine” winery visit is Domain Des Homs!

Located on a plateau about 150 meters above sea level and surrounded by pine trees, olive trees, almond trees and vineyards, it occupies the whole lieu-dit of des Homs, a small hamlet built on a medieval farm. What a pleasure to go to the cellar, the office, the bed & breakfast, the historical house, the chicken coop or the pigeon loft among the olive and almond trees, by taking the historic lanes of the hamlet!

At the foot of the black mountains, the property swept by the winds. Today, the Tramontana blows at about 25/30 knots. The trees and vineyards are literally brushed with this Northern Wind, and blurs the spectrum of green shades throughout the hamlet.

It is thanks to this wind that the vineyards are living in an organic culture very easily, as disease and mildew don’t present major problems in the vines.

Parcel “le Four” Grenache planted in 1980

A vineyard in one piece

The vineyard represents 23 HA distributed around the estate, with 8 HA of IGP and 15 HA in the Minervois appellation. Jean Marc represents the 3rd generation of the Crozals family in Domaine des Homs, which he manages with his wife Anne since 2000, all cultivated in organic farming with only using copper and sulfur for treatment. He made his first experiments in the North Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape at the Chateau de Mont Redon. From there, he brought back the knowledge of how to grow and best express Viognier, a grape variety particularly demanding in viticultural work, as well as Syrah, a grape well-adapted to the stony and poor soil of Minervois.

Here the soils are stony and poor. The richest plots are planted with Chardonnay and Viognier. The whole vineyard is worked regularly in organic methods and has been organic certified since 2006.

A part or the vineyards is made up of old vines planted in the 1980s, including the Gravière plantation of Syrah which produces the wine of the same name. But, a large part of the domain was torn up and then replanted regularly from 2000 to recover the original 20 hectares of the estate. Thus the grape varieties are adapted to the soil and the short vine-training ensures small yields.
Jean Marc uses the nursery Gibault, who only works with healthy plant material, cultivated and without compromise for quality. The investment in these vines is well worth the quality vines that are produced.


2017 – A vintage reasonably warm and without drought, at the moment…

It was with great relief that the winter was rainy in the Minervois. All the ground water tables have returned to their average level however it is very localized here because neighbouring appellations Corbières and Fitou received no rain.  The downpours took place in November, December and February – the well of the domain had never been so high!

Fortunately, episodes of black frost spared the Domaine des Homs but not the Languedoc in its entirety. All the low vines in the plain have suffered and Jean Marc and Anne are aware of their luck.

A hot spring followed with very strong heat especially in the month of June. The vines have been thriving thanks to the good water reserves. Summer has been milder with another 25 mm of rain around July 15th.
The flowering was regular, some coulure to be noted for the Grenache due to the fluctuations of temperature in June passing from the very hot to very fresh.

Today the vine is 15 days in advance, with a vines already mid-véraison. The harvest will surely start before mid-August for the Chardonnay. The quality is looking very beautiful and homogeneous.

Currently Available – end of 2015 and early 2016 vintages

Chardonnay 2016 Pays d’Oc
The nose is fine with notes of exotic fruits and flowers. The mouth is round, mixing these same exotic notes and touches of toast – the palate is very balanced. A slight bitter almond note finishes the wine pleasantly.

Viognier 2016 Pays d’Oc
A high-maintenance varietal to work with because of the excessive vegetation production, and natural vine growing patterns wanting to always fall towards the ground – very low yield (35hl / ha). The nose is subtle with notes of orange blossoms, peaches and gingerbread with a hint of licorice. The mouth is bone dry, but unctuous, long, spicy, and subtly floral. A real treat !

Amandier 2016 IGP Coteaux de Peyriac
(100% Cinsault)
It is the only red wine of the estate that is ready in spring with white wines. Its name recalls the almond trees previously planted on this plot. This perfumed and peppery wine presents a lot of fruit and little tannin. Its colour is raspberry, the nose reminiscent of small wild berries, violets, rhubarb, some smoky yet herbaceous notes. The mouth finishes savoury and ready to drink.

Clots de Pals 2015 AOC Minervois
(85% Grenache, 15% Syrah)
Wine is a little closed but mouth very fruity with notes of cherry and raspberry, hints of thyms and blood. Tannins are very silky and the mouth is round and soft. Very nice structure.

Clots de Pals 2016 AOC Minervois
(85% Grenache, 15% Syrah)
Fresh nose with aromas of blackberries, smoky mouth with notes of cocoa, garrigue, blackberry, sweet red plums, and grilled meats. Round and rich palate, it is a solar wine without the heaviness. Tasting: 16°C

Paul 2016 AOC Minervois
(80% Syrah, 20% Grenache)
Fresh nose of blackcurrant, black pepper, toasted nuts. Very round mouth full of velvety tannins and sweet with notes of coffee, spices, cocoa bean. Tasting: 16°C

Gravières 2016 AOC Minervois
(90% Syrah, 10% Grenache)
Aged in 300 litres barrels. Nose cocoa, toffee, very supple mouth, tannins well integrated. Can be decanted. Tasting: 16°C

Jean Marc showing us the future barrique cellar and tasting room that will be finished at the end of 2017 (and includes the beautiful view)

To come in the future…

Jean Marc and Anne have made some big investments in their Domaine to welcome visitors in the following years.  Expected to be fully completed in 2017, they have begun the construction of a new barrique cave, tasting room, and outdoor terrace.  The space will be available for visitors in the Minervois to come and taste the wines, purchase bottles, or enjoy the stunning panoramic views on the terrace.  We can’t wait to see how it will look when it is finished, don’t hesitate anymore to give the address to your customers or to come directly and maybe you will find me there enjoying a glass of wine next summer 2018!!


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