DOMAINE DE NIZAS
Languedoc
Located near the medieval village of Pézenas in the heart of the Languedoc region, Domaine de Nizas was established in 1998 by Franco-American agriculturist, John Goelet, a member of a distinguished family in Bordeaux. With Bernard Portet at his side, a fellow visionary in the world of wine rooted in respect for tradition, they shared a driving ambition to create great wines in exceptional terroirs. This led to the creation of Clos du Val in Napa Valley as well as Taltarni and Clover Hill in Australia. Portet identified the terroir around Pézenas as one of extraordinary promise. Individual plots which represented three different soil types, or terroirs, were acquired to create Domaine de Nizas which would allow them to craft high-quality artisanal wines that express the spirit of the Mediterranean. Portet then worked with the local team on a major replanting to match the right grape varietals to the different terroirs. He remains involved as technical advisor.

"For wine consumers, especially those who like hand-crafted, highly individual wines that express the place where they were grown and are sensibly priced too, Languedoc-Roussillon is the perfect playground."
Jancis Robinson, Financial Times (2010)
  • Founded: 1998 by John Goelet
  • Owner: The Goelet Family
  • Winemaker: Nathalie Arnaud-Bernard
  • Climate: Mediterranean climate with low rainfall and warm, dry summers.
  • Key Varieties: Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaking

Nathalie Arnaud-Bernard, a native of the Rhone Valley with extensive experience as a winemaker in Australia and France, has led production and winemaking at Domaine de Nizas since 2011. She creates handcrafted wines with a unique elegant style which expresses the essence of each terroir. The secret of winemaking – she says – is, “the quality of grapes, keeping just the right temperature during fermentation, and fanatical attention to every detail.”

All fruit is harvested at optimum ripeness and with a good balance of sugar and acidity, allowed by the excellent soils, wide diurnal temperatures and precision pruning. Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes are de-stalked and gently put into tanks. Maceration is carefully controlled in order to naturally enhance the work that has already been done in the vineyard: A deep color, intense and pure aromas, full bodied and soft tannins. After 15 to 25 days on the skins, the grapes are pressed and the resulting wine is then graded according to the quality of the press. The wines are then transferred to oak barrels to complete the malolactic fermentation and for maturation until bottling.

Nathalie et Bernard

Viticulture

Pézenas enjoys a Mediterranean climate with low rainfall and warm, dry summers. The sweeping vineyards benefit from cool North winds and “Tramontane” which blow over the mountains towards the sea and warm Mediterranean sunshine which, together, protect the vines and keep them vigorous.

With 100 acres of planted vines ranging from 60 year-old Carignan to more recently planted Syrah and Grenache, Domaine de Nizas’ terroir offers a unique mosaic of three soil types: pebbles, basalt and limestone. These soils are deep and provide excellent drainage while retaining freshness and humidity at deep root level, allowing grapes to ripen fully without stress to the vines.

Domaine de Nizas has been certified as a sustainable vineyard since 2007. The vines are worked manually and precisely for pruning, bud removal, lifting the wires, and if required, removing excess grapes. The winery maintains a long term view, conserving the soils by using ploughing and grass rather than herbicides.

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