We present the history of Mas de Daumas Gassac from 780 to the present day.
From 780: Saint Benedict of Aniane, an adviser to Charlemagne, created a vineyard in the Gassac valley in the 780s. We have every reason to believe that Saint Benedict would have invited Charlemagne to sample the first wines produced in the valley. Mas de Daumas Gassac’s Grands Vins were thus born in the shadow of a prestigious abbey, like most famous great wines!
1970: Véronique and Aimé Guibert toured the countryside in the Hérault looking for a family house. At a bend in a road lined with pine trees, they fell under the charm of an old Mas (farmhouse) and an abandoned mill. Located in the heart of a beautiful wild valley through which flowed the Gassac river, the property belonged to the Daumas family.Was the land best-suited to maize, olive trees, or vines? Our parents were deeply inspired by “Mother Earth” but knew little about vines, and were uncertain as to what they should plant. They asked the opinion of an Aveyronnais friend, Henri Enjalbert, then a professor at Bordeaux III University, a geographer specialized in winegrowing geology and the author of numerous books (including “The Origin of Quality”).
1971: Professor Enjalbert visited Mas de Daumas Gassac and determined, after walking in the valley for several hours, that the soil consisted of glacial sandstone comparable to the best terroirs of the Côtes d’Or in Burgundy. He declared that there was no doubt that a Grand Cru wine could be produced here, but that they should be prepared to wait a while before it was recognized as such…maybe a couple of hundred years! According to him, Mas de Daumas Gassac had a unique terroir with the potential to produce an exceptional red wine, due to underground sources of cold water and the influence of the surrounding massifs of Arboussas and Larzac which contribute to the valley’s microclimate.
The mention of the words “Grand Cru” triggered something in our parent’s minds. It was the beginning of a crazy challenge that Véronique, an ethnologist specialized in Ireland, and Aimé, a glover and tanner from Millau, decided they were ready to take on. And so the adventure began…
1972: Planting of un-cloned Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Uniformity is the enemy of quality. These vines came from a nursery collection that had been sourced from top Bordeaux properties in the 1930s and 40s. The vines were selected on the basis of quality and diversity, and not on their yields or resistance to diseases.
Between 1972 and 1978: Construction of a barrel cellar and a winery in former water storage facility of the Gallo-Roman mill, the cold water of the Gassac river providing a natural coolness that was perfect for the vat room and ensured that the temperature remained constant.
13 September 1978: The great oenologist Emile Peynaud, who supervised the rebirth of Château Léoville-Las-Cases and acted as a consultant to Château Margaux, Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, and La Lagune, made his first visit to Mas de Daumas Gassac.
29 September 1978: Emile Peynaud monitored progress at a distance, like a master watching over his pupil, giving advice for the first vinification by telephone. Later, when journalists asked Professor Peynaud why he had helped and advised an unknown property in the Languedoc, when he usually only worked with world-renowned vineyards, he replied, “I have advised the best properties in France, but there, for the first time, I had the good fortune to be present at the birth of grand cru. ”
1978: Creation of the first vintage of Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge (80% Cabernet Sauvignon).