Have you read Peter Mayle’s novel A Good Year? It was published in 2004, or roughly when we were getting knee-deep in the business of growing wine grapes. In it, the protagonist (Max Skinner), parachutes out of London banking into the world of wine when his late uncle bequeaths a Luberon Valley vineyard to him. The novel traces Max’s evolving passion for the vineyard and winemaking with elements of romance and humor. But the central intrigue revolves around a mysterious portion of the vineyard known as ‘Le Coin Perdu’ (the godforsaken spot). At first glance, Max sees it as scorched earth; a place where only the most hearty of vines could possibly eke out an existence. As you might guess, it turns out that this rocky, forlorn patch of vines is turning out the most exquisite wine on the estate.
Which brings us to our Le Clos Secret vineyard. Visible only to one neighbor, it is tucked away in a hidden portion of the ranch. In fact, its closest neighbor is an olive tree orchard. Planted on steep, rocky soil, its locale evoked images of Le Coin Perdu, where the crusty winemaker Roussel had planted, “…the best Cabernet Sauvignon and a little Merlot.” Here we planted two clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, 08 and 337. Roughly translated, Le Clos Secret means the secret enclosed vineyard.
Though challenging to farm due to the rocky soil, and difficult to get to with our tractors in inclement weather, it has been producing beautiful fruit and luscious wine. We crafted a Bordeaux blend that relies heavily on our Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard, as well as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Our 2007 Le Clos Secret earned 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Steve Heimoff who called it, “…one of the best and most delicious Bordeaux blends to emerge from that warmer area…” And our 2008 was christened with 91 points and written up by Marc Hinton of Enobytes, “This is one of those wines whose blend obtains a singular expression where the final blend exceeds the sum of its parts. The aromas are expressive and the flavors are refined. The finish is all finesse, no fooling, a very serious wine worth seeking out.”
We suppose that perhaps Mother was right, all good things worth having come from hard work.