Mas La Chevalière was established near Béziers in 1995 by Michel Laroche, after 10 years of searching for the right vineyards. The 40 hectares comprise high altitude, cooler sites for whites and hillside terraces for reds. The wines are classified Indication Géographique Protégée because irrigation is used to avoid heat stress (and hard, bitter characters in the wines) in the southerly, sunny climate. The conversion to screwcap for the majority of wines took place at the same time as in Chablis.
Winemaker Géraud Blanc supplements the estate fruit with grapes from 50 growers with whom he has long-term purchasing partnerships. Grapes for this Viognier were grown at higher altitudes in Minervois, Béziers, Agde, Bédarieux, Montpellier, Nîmes and Cévennes, which give fresh, varietal aromas and elegance to the wine. They were harvested in mid-September during the cooler, early hours of the morning.
The 2017 growing season started with a cold and rainy winter. In spring, two successive cold waves caused frost to form which as the vineyard was in full growth destroyed the vegetative shoots. May and June were exceptionally warm and dry, and led to a rapid growth of vegetation. There were episodes of high heat in the summer and due to the good reserves created by the heavy rains in winter and spring, the vines were not water stressed. The 2017 vintage looks very promising in terms of quality.
The Viognier grapes were whole bunch pressed then left to settle for 24 hours before beginning their fermentation, for 12 days at 15°C, in stainless steel vats. No oak was used and there was no malolactic fermentation in order to preserve the natural acidity and crispness. After six months in stainless steel there was a light filtration in order to preserve the natural fruit character and body of the final wine.
Light gold in colour with fragrant aromas of orange blossom and spice touches. This Viognier has delicate apricot and white stone fruit character on the palate, with a lingering aromatic and fresh finish.