5. What's in a Glass? - Winemaker diaries, by Neasa Corish-Miquel
Laurent inherited his father Henri's love of the land and an in-depth understanding of its potential. Like his father however, Laurent isn't one to stand still. While he took the best of the knowledge and experience of his vigneron ancestors, he also forged his own path for quality by taking it back to the land. He was, and is, adamant that it is only through looking after the land now and into the future that we can produce authentic wines that truly express where they come from.
It was this desire to express the unique terroir of the our vines in the Languedoc hills that led to the Côte wines, which are named for the exact latitude of the hillside vineyards, and our Lieux-dits, which reflect teh names of the specific vineyard plots.
A philosophy of minimal intervention wine making means we leave the grapes alone to allow their natural characteristics come through, with as little wine making intervention as possible. We pick grapes at optimum ripeness, but we harvest at night to ensure freshness and our reds are harvested a week earlier than many in the region. This way we avoid the overt lushness and potentially jammy flavours of over-ripe grapes. We like purity of expression in our wines, both red and white, so use minimal oak. Only our oldest vineyards of Syrah and Viognier grapes, with the intensity and concentration required, are aged in barrel and only partially in new oak. We generally use 2nd and 3rd use barrels in order to retain the purity of fruit expression and we don’t use temperature control to adjust flavour profile.
Laurent is adamant that he makes wines that he likes to drink and that are true to their origins - any requests for him to create a wine to mirror the trends will be in vain. Laurent has great integrity when it comes to his wine making - his reds are savoury and food-friendly and have a great purity of expression. They may not be "session-able", (a word I first came across in 2020!), but then, where's the pleasure in that? These wines are long-lived and accessible, destined for sipping over quiet fireside chats or to share over a meal. Laurent makes more than wine, he writes a bit of his story into every bottle. He thinks of every bottle as a piece of him that he sends to wine lovers of similar minds. Sessions, maybe not; concessions, definitely not; but Laurent Miquel wines are an expression of him and his beloved vines. Every time you take a sip , you capture a small taste of life here. Santé!
Laurent checking on the wine's progress as it rests in barrel
Laurent and Henri among Syrah vines at Cazal Viel