Domaine des Maravilhas
The Domaine des Maravilhas is located in the village of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, in the Gard department, close to the city of Avignon and overlooking the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape valley, in the heart of Lirac and Laudun appellations.
As an computer systems consultant, becoming a winemaker was a rather huge professional shift for Jean-Frederic but he had this idea in mind for so long, it was only a question of time and feeling. In 2010, with Morgane, his spouse, they decided that it was the right time so they began to search for their dream land. They met with a lot of winemakers, travelled to a lot of estates but something was missing in their quest. It’s only in 2014, when they saw what they describe as an estate on a “wave of pebbles”, that they knew they had found it.
The estate was created from scratch in 1967 by a bold Algerian adventurer and winemaker. The first thing that jumped to his eyes when he arrived here were the soils. Not the prestige, the climate or the exposure, but the soils. He had been taught by the elders to work the vines with their future in mind and therefore with the determination to preserve their fundamental richness – their soil. He immediately opted not to use either herbicides or chemical fertilizers and it was the right call.
Wonderful or Wonders, that’s the translation of “Maravilhas” in Occitan language and the first feeling Jean-Frederic and Morgane got when they discovered this 16 Ha vineyard. Organic since 1992, biodynamic since 2004, multiple terroirs, a perfect sun exposure and a great work of the famous “Mistral” wind made this estate the right fit for very fresh wines for this region. It’s the combination of those three natural factors that had led the previous owner to clear this land for planting vines.
Jean-Frederic and the Maravilhas’ team pursue the amazing work made by the previous owner with a focus on soils’ integrity, geologic and organic balance to craft living wines made for adventurers!
A wave of pebbles
Famous in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, pebbles are also a big part of the terroir in the estate of Jean Frederic and Morgane.
Made of almost 100% of silica (sandstone made up of quartz cemented by silica) the presence of the “rounded stones” here is the result of the quaternary ice ages leading the Rhône river to took over the Rhône corridor in a destructing way. In its mad rush the Rhône river carried much more than silica like granite, limestone, mica schist, gneiss…but a still unexplained extraordinary climatic alteration led to the dissolution or destruction of each of these matters except for the stone made of silica.
As a true ally for the vines, the rounded pebbles of the South Rhône have the particularity to store heat during the day and distribute it during the night allowing perfect maturation. The water evaporating at their contact also helps to fend off vine diseases linked with humidity.