Elian Da Ros
Many years ago I was traversing the Southwest of France snooping around for good wine, and a friend mentioned a guy named Elian Da Ros was making some impressive wines in the Marmandais. He also told me not to expect to be able to buy any wines from Elian, as Kermit Lynch had already been through asking to work with him. I always want to learn, meet quality producers and taste terrior driven wines, so after a phone call I made my way to Cocumont to meet him. I arrived in a rain storm and was warmly welcomed by Elian where we spent hours barrel sampling various varietals and parcels. I ended up staying for dinner and he agreed to sell me “a little bit of wine.”
Elian’s grandparents, originally from Italy’s Dolomites, arrived in France in 1922. During the early years, his grandmother ran a two-hectare vineyard on which she planted grapevines to produce sweet whites. In the late 70s, Elian’s father planted 7.5 hectares of red grapes, which marked the naissance of the current estate, which Elian took over in 1998. Today the vineyards are 20 hectares in total.
“I wanted to be a farmer but my parents didn’t approve, so I thought about becoming an agricultural engineer. And they agreed to that,” explains Elian.
After studying viticulture and oenology, from 1992 to 1997 he worked at the famous Alsacian Domaine Zind Humbrecht, where father and son duo Léonard and Olivier, showed him the methods of biodynamic farming and low intervention winemaking.
Da Ros’ vines are biodynamic, with no added chemicals, and he has a “natural” approach to winemaking: he relies on natural yeast fermentation and adds a very small amount (if any) of sulphur during bottling.
Located south-east of Bordeaux, the vineyard is planted with Bordeaux’s main grape varieties (Cabernet, Merlot, Sauvignon, Sémillon), and also includes some Gamay, FerServadou, Syrah and Abouriou—the latter an indigenous grape that is “the Beaujolais” of the Southwest!
Côtes du Marmandais Coucou Blanc
VARIETALS: 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Gris
SOIL: Clay and gravel with a base of blue marl
VINIFICATION: Grapes are harvested and vinified separately. Slow pressing, cold settling. Fermentation by indigenous yeast, and aged in cask and concrete eggs for 17 months.
Côtes du Marmandais Le Vin Est Une Fête
VARIETALS: 40% Abouriou, 40% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot
SOIL: Clay-loan and clay subsoil
FARMING: Non-certified Biodynamics
VINIFICATION: Merlot & Cabernet Franc grapes are vinified separately and fermented in open top concrete vats for about 10-15 days. The Abouriou is pressed whole and goes through semi-carbonic maceration. Only indiginous yeast is used for fermentation. The wine is aged in casks and barrique for 10 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Côtes du Marmandais Le Vignoble d'Élian
VARIETALS: 50% Cabernet Franc , Merlot 30%, 20% Syrah
VINE AGE: Vines aged 30 to 40 years
SOIL: Clay loam soils over iron rich soil
VINIFICATION: 100% de-stemming, open concrete tanks, light cap punching, maceration 2 to 3 weeks with very gentle extractions. Each variety is vinified separately and aged for 17 months. Blended together and aged for an additional months in concrete before bottling without fining or filtration.
Côtes du Marmandais Outre Rouge
VARIETALS: Abouriou (85%)/Malbec (5%)/Cabernet Franc (5%)/Syrah (5%)
SOIL TYPE: Clay-limestone
VINIFICATION: All fermentation is done naturally using indigenous yeasts. Elian vinfies each parcel and grape variety separately. All fruit with the exception of Abouriou is destemmed. The domaine's cave is underground and no new oak is used in this cuvée. The grapes are vinified using three different techniques - carbonic maceration, saignée, and press - then blended in tank.Aged for 15 months sur lies.
Côtes du Marmandais Chante Coucou
VARIETAL: 50% Merlot - 20% Cabernet Sauvignon - 20% Malbec - 10% Syrah
SOIL: The Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are from older than thirty years, rooted in a clay-gravel soil basement marl gray molasses vines. The Malbec is grown on a slightly younger plot with gravelly soils and a base of blue marl.
VINIFICATION: Merlot and Cabernets are 100% destemmed, while the Malbec and Syrah are left intact and fermented in open concrete tanks with light pigeages, leading to very gentle extractions. Maceration lasts for about 2-3 weeks. Each grape varietal is vinified separately with indigenous yeasts. Aged 20 months separately in vats, and then an additional 7 months after blending. Bottled without fining or filtration.
Côtes du Marmandais Abouriou
VARIETALS: 90% Abouriou 10% Merlot
SOIL: Clay-gravel and clay-limestone
VINIFICATION: Grapes are manually sorted, and individually vinified. Grapes are non stemmed, semi-carbonic maceration, fermentation of ten days by indigenous yeasts. Spends 15 months in casks and barrels. Lightly filtered before bottling.