About the wine maker
In 1989, Michel Escande dropped his passion for sailing and came inland with his wife. They borrowed money to buy 5 hectares of vines, a wine cellar and a superb, but tired house. With the tenacity of a sailor and the faith of a peasant farmer, Michel learned about his land – this showed from the first cuvées of Sylla which the international press picked up at the beginning of the 1990s.
The vines at Borie de Maurel hang on to the rocky slopes of the Black mountains; this land has always been known as le Petit Causse. It’s so special in the region that in 1999 the first appellation village of the Languedoc was born: La Livinière. The soils are immensely diverse here, ancient and shaped by erosion and glaciation forces. As a simplification, the soil types split into two families: the hot soils with an under layer of sandstone, with accumulations of clay and limestone sediment with low water retention, this is the favourite spot for Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault; and the cooler high lands of marl and limestone screes, home of Syrah and Marsanne.
It’s with these two land types and long observation of which grape variety to plant where, the different vine stocks and how they react, that maps out the wines from this domain. ‘The expression of a terroir is to respect the balance of nature and to install a system that’s adapted to the environment’, explains Michel.
There is no place here for synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, all the vineyards have been farmed organically and certified since 2013, the ground is also naturally enriched with horse manure from the two Percheron mares Nina and Gaïa, who work in the vineyards: whilst large they exert only a small footprint on the land!