Basile Saint Germain of Domaine des Aurelles produces a series of fine wines. His philosophy in the vineyard is one of meticulous attention to detail; his vinifications long and precise. We tell you more about this producer’s vision.
Basile Saint-Germain fell in love with the Domaine des Aurelles near Pézenas and moved there in 1995. Originally a native of the Médoc, he had worked for two years at Château Latour and – in common with his partner, Caroline Voisin – had had years of experience in Cognac. It was after seven years in Cognac that the couple decided to start making their own wine. Together, they put into practice the skills and single-minded focus they had acquired from their home region… tailoring them carefully to their new home terroir, on the edge of the Nizas plateau, 30km from the Mediterranean.
The domain is managed biodynamically, something that strikes this vigneron as the logical option. Only “the energy that one puts into their work” counts, because “that’s what plants perceive, as living beings”. It’s not rare to see Basile speaking to his plants, as one would to a child. He is extreme in his methods, striving to produce the healthiest grapes possible: each bunch is checked twice before being picked, to make sure that not one of the grapes is rotten. Yields are therefore extremely low. The hills on which these vines grow are made up of sandy-gravel soil and basalt scree. The domain is also adept in its use of phytobiology – the study of plants to avoid the use of fertiliser.
In the cellar, the domain’s vinifications strive to produce a cellaring wine to be enjoyed with food. He vinifies the grapes without the stems quite simply because he “doesn’t like the taste of stems in wine”. For him, freshness comes from a good level of ripeness. He matures his wines for up to four years in enamel, which is more neutral than stainless-steel. Very few sulphites are added, not necessarily out of love for natural wines, rather because he prefers the pure and digestible taste of wines made that way.
Here is a producer who has developed his own aesthetic for wine. The following cuvées from the domain are currently available on iDealwine:
Solen, a predominantly Carignan red blended with Grenache, is aged in vats for 48 months and has a powerful charm. After the necessary years of maturing in the bottle, this cuvée unveils intense fruit, well-rounded, silky tannins and an incredibly long finish. Transfer to a carafe two hours before serving and it will be sensational with meats in sauce.
The Aurel red cuvée rouge is a blend of Mourvèdre and Grenache grapes grown on the hillsides and with yields restricted to 20 hectolitres per hectare. The wine is aged in vats for 48 months. Aurel is a complex and refined wine. The predominant aromas are dark fruit and spice, while delicate and silky tannins enhance the elegant, mineral and spicy palate. Its structure and style are comparable to Burgundy Pinot Noir.
The powerful but unusual white cuvée is one of the South’s gold standards for Roussanne. Made purely from this variety, the wine has a wonderfully creamy texture, of the calibre of a Hermitage, and proven ageing potential. Between 1700 and 3500 bottles of this cuvée are produced and it is aged in 350-litre barriques.
What the guides say about Domaine des Aurelles
Revue du vin de France (3*/3)
Low yields, meticulous attention to detail, coupled with a decision to release wines only after very long élevages in enamel vats: everything contributes to produced civilized, digestible wines with subtle fruit that has been slowly and surely subdued by the passing of time.
Aurel Blanc is a unique wine that is only released after several years in the domain’s cellars, this is a very fine gastronomic wine and one of the Languedoc’s leading lights in terms of quality. The domain’s reds have come on a long way and the whites are head and shoulders above their peers in the region: the domain thoroughly deserves its fourth star.