Nicole Fernandez was a Spanish plumber’s daughter who decided she needed to make a grand vin rouge in Languedoc, and that she needed to grow grapes on white limestone gravel in order to do it. John Bojanowski comes from Kentucky (USA), worked and travelled through 50 countries before he heard Nicole’s story, fell in love, and learned to drive a 82 cm-wide crawler tractor (one foot inside, one foot out).
In 1999, John and Nicole bought a hectare of 1911 Carignan and some pink Grenache vines of unknown date, and they started growing grapes and making wine. That the wine made from this grape of rustic reputation was très élégant gave Clos du Gravillas its raison d’ȇtre: making sincere, elegant
wines from unloved or unknown grapes and thus retelling the “story of Languedoc.”
John and Nicole now grow 8.5 hectares of 20 grape varieties, from Carignan to Terret Gris, all farmed organically. Latest challenges include saving Piquepoul Gris from extinction and proving that Muscat is even better as an orange wine than as a sweet, fortified version.
After 23 years, two moments stand out. The highest honor was Gravillas’ selection as the 2020 Languedoc Coup de Coeur in the Guide Vert from the Revue du Vin de France. Just one domain chosen in each of 15 French wine regions. Definitive proof that an Outsider can exist in French wine. Our most satisfying article was by Rosemary George MW, who describes her dilemma when asked to choose which wine to drink AFTER a sublime 1921 Château d’Yquem. Her pick? Our “little” Sous les Cailloux des Grillons. Her conclusion? “The combination of sunshine with fresh flavours was delicious. The crickets had come up trumps!”
Clos du Gravillas
15 Route de Bize
34360 Saint Jean de Minervois
Tél. : +33 (0)4 67 38 17 52