All of le Grand Noir wines come from vineyards in the Minervois region, in Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France. The Romans made wine here – there’s a 2,000 year-old burial site close to one of our vineyards – and grapes love the warm sunny climate and the cool breezes from the nearby Mediterranean and the ‘Black’ mountains.
The wonderfully perfumed Viognier which thrives in a warm climate, for example, all comes from the vines growing close to the medieval walled village of Azille. The soil here is marked by grés – clay-limestone which seems to have a particular affinity with this grape variety. Chardonnay grows well in Azille too, but with his experience of blending wines from different vineyards in Bordeaux, Hugh Ryman prefers to marry it with Chardonnay from other parts of the region, including warm-climate vineyards around the village of Pepieux where the wind from the mountains brings fresh, perfumed flavours.