Domaine Bourdic

Grape harvest at Domaine Bourdic in Languedoc

who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Domaine Bourdic? who makes the wines?

Christa Vogel and Hans Hürlimann are transplants from Switzerland who arrived in the Midi, when their vacation plans changed”because it was raining in Italy”. For so many winemakers, both French and foriegn, the Languedoc offers tremendous freedom to explore, and Hans and Christa do just that in their approach to wine and marketing.

All grapes are grown on their 40 acre estate, all of which will be certified organic in 2012, and the couple makes the wines themselves.

The owners and winemakers

what wines do they make at Domaine Bourdic?

The stars of the Languedoc, Syrah and Grenache feature prominently in the wines of Domaine Bourdic, but both are blended in surprising ways. “La Sentinelle” is largely Cabernet Sauvignon, while “Zappa” is a blend of Syrah and Grenache supported by old vine Tempranillo, something we had not seen anywhere else.

The white “Density” is a blend of Vermentino and Roussane that has more natural acidity than one might expect. It’s the wine that first attracted us to the estate.

Wines from Domaine bourdic

Wines from Domaine bourdic

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when did Domaine Bourdic start? when might you open a bottle?

Hans and Christa arrived in the Languedoc in the late 1990’s on vacation, like so many others have in the past twenty years. They sought out a winery and a home located in the middle of the vineyards and vineyards that largely face north. The result is that they live right smack in the middle of the action and they never have to truck grapes from one site to another.
The vineyard at Domaine bourdic

The Bourdic’s bottles are wines that open easily – not literally, at least no more than others – as they pair with a wide variety of foods.  Zappa’s red fruit pops from the glass and is lighter than many wines from the area, so you can try it with grilled or dried meats and dishes with tomatoes, especially if they are dried.  Sentinelle has more tannin thanks to it’s time in oak, but is not overly weighty; a cheese plate is a good a friend as a T-Bone here.  Their white, Density, has a lot of fruit but none of the high toned alcohol that so many southern whites show, so it too is light on it’s feet when it comes to pairing.


where is Domaine Bourdic?

Domaine Bourdic is in the Languedoc, in the south of France, halfway between Montpellier and Beziers. The area is a short drive to the sea, but the climate in distinctly more continental than mediterranean. It’s a gorgeous, warm area, and the estate benefits from largely north facing vineyards that guard against elevated alcohol levels and preserve acidity.

The estate sites on three levels.  The lowest parcels benefit from the rich alluvial soil deposited by the Herault river.  The area is full of volcanoes and the soil is consequently diverse.  The parcels on the top two tiers of the estate are largely limestone but they are infused with diverse rocks from schist to marne to bauxite thanks to the areas violent geological past.  One is left with the impression of a varied set of inputs where no single soil dominates.  


why is Domaine Bourdic a candid wine? why might you want to taste?

At a tasting with what must have been 1500 wines from all over the Languedoc, the Bourdic wines stood out for their elegance and for their restrained quirkiness. It’s hot in the region and alcohol levels can run away on a winemaker in a hurry. Across the board, the Bourdic wines are a notch quieter, less burly, and more approachable to our tastes. If the Languedoc goes to 11, these wines stay at 8. (Spinal Tap anyone? Seems an approriate reference for a winery that produces “Zappa”).
Post Harvest meal at Domaine Bourdic

As for their quirkiness, it is restrained. 16% of old vine tempranillo is blended into the Syrah and Grenache of Zappa, giving the wine a note of Spain wrapped in a coat of garrigue. La Sentinelle is Cabernet aged for three years before release, but its only $12-$13 on the shelf. Density is actually fairly light, with some soft melon aromas and tastes. The quirkiness is not bold, but it’s present and it’s alluring.

how is the wine made at Domaine Bourdic?

Hans, a composer and conductor of classical music in his past professional life has a focused approach to everything he does. His description of how he prunes vines speaks to his approach in the winery as well:

“When you play an instrument you must practise each day. Each repetition of a scale, played the very best you can, takes you closer to the performance you have in mind. When I prune a vine I think only of the vine I am pruning, not the thousands waiting to be pruned. Each vine has a character and a desire for air that needs to be found and encouraged. I prune each one knowing what kind of wine I have in mind; how and why I want that wine to be. It’s a desire to produce what I imagine.“

Preparing to plant
Our selections from Domaine Bourdic are blended wines, and the same care goes to that blend, with parcels and varieties vinified seperately. The intention behind each of the wines is easy to see, as well as the natural brightness that comes thanks to the north facing vineyards on which the grapes are planted.