Domaine Elian Da Ros, Côtes du Marmandais
The Côtes du Marmandais is one of south west France's lesser known appellation immediately east of Bordeaux. Back in the 70’s Elian da Ros’ father was a farmer who grew tomatoes, cereals and tobacco and who also had a small vineyard. The grapes were then sent to the local coop. At a very early age Elian dreamt of being a vigneron and producing his own wine. It is then at the tender age of 14 that he went on to study viticulture and oenology at the local school.
From 1992 to 1997 Élian learned his profession at the emblematic domaine Zind-Humbrecht, in Alsace. "Léonard Humbrecht was my master and remains it", he declares. As he came back to his father's vineyard in 1997 in the village of Cocumont, Élian set out to work in a different manner and applied the skills he learned. He first of all built a cellar in order to make his own wine. 1998 saw his first vintage. The estate now covers 22 hectares on slope of gravely soil and calcareous clay. The vineyard is run in a biodynamic manner since 2002 and Da Ros explains that all the small details matter in the vineyard as well as in the cellar. The benefits of his low-yield non-interventionist approach are evident in his elegant, uncommon, tough beautiful organic wines. In the cellar the respect of the grapes is paramount. Elian believes in attending them in a gentle manner so that the resulting wines express the terroir where they come from along with the uniqueness and characteristics of each vintage. His wines are full of energy with a magical elegance. No one before Élian da Ros has ever made outstanding Marmandais wines: it hasn't existed. Now it does.
Elian treats each of his parcels separately. His yields are low; typically between 20 to 35 hl/ha. Focused on creating wines Burgundian in style, there is a finesse to Elian’s work. He de-stems all his fruit believing the grapes naturally provide the texture, depth, and spice he is looking for. Elian also aims to display the two primary soil types of his area: argilo-calcaire (clay-limestone) and argilo-graveleux (clay-rocky pebble). He only uses native yeast fermentation and vinifies each parcel and grape variety separately. His wines experience extended elevage as he experiments with a variety of vinification and aging vessels including tank, oak barrels, foudre, and concrete egg tanks.