- Languedoc, France
By a stroke of luck and good timing, Florian Busch moved to the south of France after attending wine school in Germany. He didn’t set out to leave the Mosel behind, but when he met his wife Paola who grows herbs to make tinctures, cosmetics, and oils– the decision to stay in France was made. In 2018, they bought a seven hectare property in the Terraces du Larzac that included vineyards, forests, and fields. In 2018 they harvested their first grapes producing a mere 1,500 bottles of wine. In 2019, they purchased an additional hectare and increased overall production to 4,500 bottles, allowing Florian to leave his job at Domaine d’Aupilhac, where he had been the cellar master for six years. In 2020, three more hectares were added making it the first year that they made their full range of wines. And finally In 2022, they bought a house and cellar in nearby Montpeyroux.
The vines in the Terraces du Larzac area of the Languedoc lie about 30 minutes northwest of Montpellier and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s an exceptional terroir, mostly composed of limestone with some quartz, with a special micro-climate. There is abundant sunshine during the day, ensuring good ripeness in the grapes, and cool air coming off the mountains at night, which gives a balancing freshness to the wines. The biggest challenge to the vineyards are its long dry spells, making it important to have old vines that can access the water reserves deep in the soil. Their oldest vines are eighty year-old Grenache and Syrah. They also have Carignan, Grenache Blanc, and Rolle planted. The vineyards are quite beautiful, often bordering forests and with a lot of native plants growing, including wild fennel and arugula.
Florian admitted that making wine in the south of France is totally different from making wine in the Mosel. First, the grape varieties are different. Second, it’s much easier to work with very low sulfur or no sulfur at all in the arid area of the Languedoc. For him, the key is to not harvest too late, otherwise you end up with an “alcohol bomb”. Florian stressed that it is possible to make wines with a lot of energy in this region and that’s his goal: juicy wines with verve, without overripe qualities.
He feels that in order to achieve this, he has to farm organically and ultimately be biodynamic. Florian stressed that getting healthy fruit means working and tending the vineyards all year long. But if he works well, then very little sorting will be necessary at harvest. In the cellar, he works with whole clusters on some of the wines and there are no chemical additions except for a small amount of sulfur at bottling.
Florian’s whites are made with an interesting technique of putting whole berries into the tank and pumping juice over them so that the fermentation starts in the berries, a submerged intracellular fermentation. He presses when the fermentation is finished– three to four weeks later. It’s a small portion of the blend on Lou Bragalou and 100% for the Pierre qui Rolle, his orange wine. He wants his wines to be “glou glou”, but ideally he’s aiming for wines that are a combination of serious and easy to drink.
The whites are unique and delicious with great intensity, stoniness and juicy fruit, and bone dry. The reds are bold and fresh – you can taste the combination of the abundant sunshine, the minerals in the soil, and the freshness of the night time mountain air. Welcome a new voice in the Languedoc, Flo Busch.