Described as a ‘rough diamond’ by renowned critic Jeb Dunnuck, the Languedoc-Roussillon has started to feature more boldly in our auctions. Here’s a look at some of the region’s top results so far this year.
La Grange des Pères, star of the show
Whilst La Grange des Pères hasn’t yet beaten its own record from last year (a 1992 red cuvée that went under the hammer for €5,035), the estate has still kept up appearances, with a 1993 red selling for €1,474 this year. Laurent Vaillé, who we sadly lost in April, dedicated himself to the domain, pulling it up to truly excellent heights in quality. His unique approach, that involved growing rare grape varieties and applying old-fashioned wisdom, truly put La Grange des Pères on the map, a success clearly reflected in the domain’s continually excellent auction results.
Who are the big names?
The Languedoc-Roussillon is home to more than a handful of prestigious estates, and these are catching the attention of top bidders. The best performances so far this year include a magnum of 2012 Petite Sibérie from Clos des Fées, which finds itself in second place in our ranking, thus confirming the beauty of its terroir, discovered by former sommelier Hervé Bizeul. Alongside Clos des Fées, we find a 2007 Emile Peynaud cuvée (#3, €221) from Mas Daumas Gassac, an estate that fought to keep its land from the Mondavi group. In fourth place is the 2008 Clos des Truffiers from Château La Négly (€196), followed by Domaine Gauby’s La Muntada (€178).
What regional trends can we spot?
It’s no great surprise for this southern region to have so many characterful reds among its finest and most coveted bottles. There are, nonetheless, two white cuvées featured in the top 20: a 2008 Blanc du Casot cuvée from Casot des Mailloles (#11, €112) and a 2014 Aurel from Domaine des Aurelles (#17, €68). We’ve also got a rosé in the mix for the first time ever, the summery tippled represented by a 2018 Coteaux-du-Languedoc Cabrières from Clos du Temple that sold for €68.
A theme that just hasn’t stopped growing since its arrival on the viticultural scene is the rise of natural wine. The Languedoc-Roussillon ranking puts several domains that fit this profile into the sunny spotlight: Pedres Blanques (#6, €172 Vin de France) has been managed by hand since 2017 by Japanese couple Rié and Hirofumi Shoji; Clos du Rouge Gorge is a domain of just 5 hectares cultivated biodynamically (#12, €111 for a 2007 Côtes-Catalanes L’Ubac); and Léon Barral applies polyculture at the heart of his vinegrowing methods (#8, €123 for a 1994 Faugères Valinière).
Which vintages do best at auction?
This table reveals the attractiveness of vintages between 2000 and 2010 from the Languedoc-Roussillon. Most of these can be uncorked now, as they’ll have a good balance of evolved notes and fruitiness, although they can be aged for a little longer if the lucky buyer is patient enough! Whilst the wines from this region do have good ageing potential, they don’t need quite as much time to develop in the cellar as Burgundy and Rhône cuvées do.
Natural sweet wines are also a speciality of the region (meaning wine that is naturally sweet, rather than produced using natural methods), so we’ve made a separate ranking for these. Fabulous Rivesaltes, Banyuls, and Maury cuvées have received top bids, in vintages ranging from 2008 all the way back to 1929! A collectors’ bottle made it into the ranking, too, a 1945 Rivesaltes which auctioned for €123. As you can see, despite their fine old age, these VDNs manage to keep their prices pleasing.
Highest-priced Languedoc-Roussillon bottles, 1st semester 2021
|Position||Colour||Wine||Hammer price scaled to 750ml|
|1||Red||1 bt IGP Pays d’Hérault 1993 Grange des Pères||€1,474|
|2||Red||1 mg Côtes du Roussillon Villages La Petite Sibérie 2012 Clos des Fées||€246|
|3||Red||1 bt IGP Pays d’Hérault cuvée Emile Peynaud 2007 Mas Daumas Gassac||€221|
|4||Red||1 bt Coteaux-du-Languedoc-La-Clape Clos des Truffiers 2008 La Négly||€196|
|5||Red||1 bt Côtes-du-Roussillon-Villages La Muntada 2008 domaine Gauby||€178|
|6||Red||1 bt Vin de France 2019 Pedres Blanques||€172|
|7||Red||1 bt IGP Pays de l’Hérault Les Capitelles 2016 Domaine Vaisse||€135|
|8||Red||1 bt Faugères Valinière 1994 Domaine Léon Barral||€123|
|9||Red||1 bt Coteaux-du-Languedoc Marlène n°3 2009 Peyre-Rose||€123|
|10||Red||1 bt Coteaux-du-Languedoc-Pic-Saint-Loup Guilhem Gaucelm 2010 Ermitage du Pic Saint-Loup||€119|
|11||White||1 bt Vin de France Blanc du Casot 2008 Le Casot des Mailloles||€112|
|12||Red||1 bt IGP Côtes Catalanes L’Ubac 2007 Clos du Rouge Gorge||€111|
|13||Red||1 bt Coteaux-du-Languedoc Pic-Saint-Loup Les Glorieuses 2010 Clos Marie||€95|
|14||Red||1 bt Coteaux du Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac Les Depierre 1994 Mas Jullien||€93|
|15||Red||1 bt Coteaux du Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac 2010 Domaine de Montcalmès||€92|
|16||Red||3 bt IGP Pays du Gard (VDP du Gard) 2014 Roc d’Anglade||€70|
|17||Red||3 bt Côtes-du-Roussillon-Villages L’Esquerda R.I. 2015 Domaine De Bila Haut||€68|
|18||White||2 bt Coteaux-du-Languedoc Aurel 2014 Domaine des Aurelles||€68|
|19||Red||1 bt Languedoc 2017 Domaine La Bergerie de l’Arcade||€68|
|20||Rosé||1 bt Coteaux-du-Languedoc Cabrières 2018 Clos du Temple||€68|
Highest-priced natural sweet wines (Languedoc-Roussillon), 1st semester 2021
|1||Ambré||1 bt Maury 1929 Pla del Fount||€147|
|2||Ambré||1 bt Rivesaltes 1945 Amédée de Besombes Singla||€123|
|3||Red||1 bt Banyuls 2008 Vinyer de la Ruca 65cl||€123|
|4||Ambré||3 bt Rivesaltes 1930 Château Sisqueille||€111|
|5||Ambré||1 bt Maury 1969 Mas Amiel||€107|