Domaine Saint-Lannes, located in the north part of the Gers region, belongs to the Duffour family. The estate was founded in 1955, and was converted solely to viticulture in 1973 by Michel Duffour, who already saw the potential for outstanding, fresh, fruity and dry white wines made from the Colombard and Gros-Manseng in his vineyards. His son Nicolas, who studied oenology in Bordeaux and represents the 3rd generation, took over in 2004. Nicolas has oriented all aspects of his vineyards and winery to the High Environmental Value (“Haute Valeur Environnementale”) protocol of France’s Ministry of Agriculture.
The Lannes 75ha of vineyards are all on well exposed, south facing slopes and plateaux. The exclusively clay-limestone top soil is not more than one meter deep, and the subsoil is pure limestone. There are several working limestone quarries close to the domaine. This terroir drains well, enhances ripening, and imparts minerality and verve to the wine. From harvest on, the Duffours take great care to prevent any contact of the grapes with oxygen, which would quickly degrade freshness. The grapes are picked from 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM so that they are cool from the start. The fruit is protected from exposure to oxygen during the brief transport to the winery. The juice naturally extracts from the grapes during the 12-hour -maceration period, which occurs under a blanket of inert gas. Only the “jus de goutte” is fermented; no press-juice is used because it would dull the fresh aromas and flavors. The young wine ferments at 16 degrees Centigrade for about two weeks, after which it rests on its fine lees in stainless steel tanks to develop complexity. There is no malolactic fermentation. The varietals are vinified separately and are blended in January. The new vintage is released one month later.
Farming/winemaking practices: Sustainable. Alternate rows planted with grass. No chemicals are ever used. The wines are vegan.
The 2022 vintage started off quickly after a mild winter. The early budding met with an early April frost that wiped out about 25% of the crop. Flowering occurred early, over the last two weeks of May under very dry conditions. Summer weather was a mix of sun and rain, with generally hot temperatures and severe hail which further reduced the crop. The vines continued to grow vigorously in part because of the ample water reserves in the soil. Veraison occurred in mid-August. The Colombard harvest began in mid-September and lasted for 3 weeks, followed by the Gros Manseng on Sept. 20—the earliest ever. Domaine Saint Lannes Cotes de Gascogne 2022 has the signature energetic, intense and expressive citrus and tropical fruit flavors, ample texture (deriving from the ripe Gros- Manseng) , and elegantly bright, minerally length. To compensate the crop-loss, Nicolas was fortunate to acquire an adjacent vineyard from a retired neighbor, so there is no vol- ume shortage in the vintage. “Despite the challenges of frost, hail and drought, the low- yield 2022 vintage offers balanced, fresh and very expressive wines:” N. Duffour.