Jean-Hubert inherited this estate from his father with all of its tiny parcels of old vines and its cellars filled with old, odd sized barrels. Descending into the cellar one gets the feeling of entering a medieval alchemist’s laboratory. Each barrel, some as small as 12 inches in diameter, is labeled with a cryptic numerical code, that keeps hidden from outsiders which nectar each barrel contains.
Attached to their cuverie is a rare curiosity for visitors, a “Jardin de Bonbonnes” (literally an outdoor garden of glass demijohns where wine used to be stored to oxidize in the sun.) Long ago Jean-Hubert’s father made the decision to sell all of the red grapes and white wine not used for their rancio style wines, to the local co-operative. This way he could devote all of his energy to the wines he found most interesting.
From a long term economic standpoint this was not the best decision because these wines, that were once overproduced, fell out of favor during the decades following World War II. Today they are one of only a handful of quality wineries still producing this type of wine.
Domaine Rancy has somehow been lucky enough to outlive the trend away from these wines and is now beginning to find itself in the spotlight. Down the street from their old, museum-like, cellar the Verdaguers have a modern winery with state of the art equipment.
Now, after many years of hard work, they have established a very small cult following. They only attend a few salons per year and have made it a policy to do as little as possible to promote their wines, relying only on word of mouth.
This rare wine is made from a white grape called Macabeau that is native to the Roussillon region. The grapes are hand picked late in the season, pressed, fermented, and fortified in tank. Only the best wine is chosen to be aged in barrels for 4 years minimum.
The wines are bottled as needed, and are neither fined or filtered. The vineyards are farmed in a reasonably organic manner with minimal use of chemicals.