As a teenager, Vivien Hemelsdael studied winemaking in the Alsace.
Both during and after his studies he made ends meet working for a handful of winemakers throughout the region, most notably Domaine Léon Boesch, where he learnt some of his most important lessons in biodynamics.
He then spent time working for winemakers in New Zealand and other parts of France, though it wasn’t long before his parents convinced him to move back to the Minervois and take over the family vineyard.
Before then they had always sold their grapes to the local co-operative. So, at 23 years old, Le Clos des Jarres was born.
His 13 hectares of vines, mostly red varietals, are farmed entirely organically and biodynamically. What is most notable when visiting Vivien’s estate is his impressive work ethic, a respect for the soil and the vine, and an uncompromising sensitivity and sensibility in the cellar.
In a region that has fallen somewhat victim to its own status as a DO, becoming increasingly market influenced rather than following tradition and respecting terroirs, Vivien’s wines are a beacon of light.
The majority of Vivien’s plots are on clay and gravel, all of them over a bedrock of limestone. He farms organically and biodynamically, and Vivien says that the combination of biodynamic farming and a limestone bedrock are what help keep his wines fresh and balanced, rather than overly tannic or fruit heavy, the typical style of Minervois today.
In terms of elevage, he opts for large format very old oak, amphora and fibreglass, vessels that he says help maintain terroirs and freshness in his wines.
Insouciance is the only of Vivien’s reds to be made with grapes not typical of the Minervois. Two thirds Merlot and one third Caladoc (hybrid of Grenache and Malbec) from his lowest elevation plot, right next to a small river which is known to flood and deposit alluvial sediment and stones among the vines.
The grapes are destemmed and co-fermented. One third of the Caladoc stems are thrown in to the deposit to give a little more tannin and spice. 12 days maceration and 8 months ageing in fibreglass tank. A tiny amount of sulphur added before bottling.
Grapes: Merlot (2/3) and Caladoc
Soil type: Clay and gravel with alluvial deposits
Age of vines: 20 years
Sulfites added: 15mg/L
Le Clos des Jarres - Insouciance
See our Returns Policy section