In 1970 Aimé and Véronique Guibert fell under the spell of an old Languedoc mas, or farmhouse, and set out to create a veritable Languedoc grand cru wine from the garrigue (herb-scented brush) and forests of Gassac. Nearly everyone thought they were crazy. By the early 1970s the Languedoc, the most ancient of French wine regions, had fallen from its pedestal and sunk to its lowest point in recorded history. Instead of enjoying its reputation as the cradle of French viticulture and reclaiming its rightful position after phylloxera among the premier wine-producing regions of the world, the Languedoc was prostituting itself by ripping up old hillside vineyards and replanting them with inferior grapes on the valley floor to produce oceans of cheap, ordinary wines. The Guiberts turned that tide with the creation of Mas de Daumas de Gassac.
Through the enormous efforts of Aimé and Véronique Guibert and the unyielding belief and advice of Emile Peynaud, then Bordeaux’s most venerable enologist, the Languedoc’s first modern grand cru was born in 1978. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% other varietals whose components include Grenache, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Pinot Noir and a host of other French and Italian varietals, Mas de Daumas Gassac was an immediate success. Within a few years, it had been dubbed “the Château Lafite of Languedoc.” Moreover, the Guiberts’ success began the resurrection of the Languedoc and sparked a renaissance in viticulture and winemaking in southern France that continues until this day.
In addition to fashioning a grand cru wine, Mas de Daumas Gassac produces Moulin de Gassac with equal care. Moulin de Gassac is made in red, white, and rosé from traditional Languedoc varietals, so it is not a second wine of Mas de Daumas; it is a partnership of two Languedoc villages, Paulhan, which sits astride the banks the Hérault River, and Villeveyrac, a small town with a splendid amphitheatre of vines that overlooks the gleaming Mediterranean and the ancient port of Sète. Only traditional Languedoc vines that have attained a minimum of twenty-five years of age are used in Moulin de Gassac Rouge. The prestigious Revue du Vin de France has said of Moulin de Gassac Rouge, “Never has there been anything to match this quality at such a reasonable price . . . a world apart from soulless international wines, they truly mirror the region.” The Moulin de Gassac Blanc now enjoys similar accolades, as do Mas de Gassac’s excellent varietal bottlings.