Labranche Laffont Madiran 2014
Christine Dupuy took over her family’s six-hectare (15-acre) wine estate, Domaine Labranche Laffont, in 1992 when her father died unexpectedly. She was 23 and by chance had just finished her degree in enology, but she had little practical experience. So she went to neighboring Château d’Aydie, Domaine Capmartin, and Domaine La Chapelle Lenclos (run by Patrick Ducournau, the inventor of micro-oxygenation), all of whom were among the most prestigious domains in the appellation at the time. During that first year they helped this precocious young vigneronne get off on the right foot.
Christine has come a long way since those early days, and today she farms 20.50 hectares (50.65 acres) of vines, all hand-harvested and tended as organically as possible (she does sometimes use fungicides, Madiran being a relatively wet viticultural area). Of those, 17.5 hectares (43 acres) are devoted to red varieties and the rest to dry and sweet whites. Insofar as she works to refine Tannat’s inherently tannic grip, her red wines are modern in style, but she loses none of the textural density that made the grape famous. Her reds are rich, ripe, and round—and surprisingly elegant for wines of such scale. If you want soft sweet red fruit, look elsewhere; but if it’s chewy deep dark density that you seek, go no further!