2022 Léah Anglès L'Éléphant Blanc15120
WINEMAKER: Léah Anglès
REGION: Banyuls, FR
From a vineyard in Cerbère, the last border before Spain. The last vines are only 20 meters from the beach. This wine is produced from old black Grenache vines, approximately 80 years old, and the yield is only 6 hectoliters per hectare. These unique conditions contribute to the wine's saline aspect. From Leah: "L'Éléphant Blanc" was the name of my grandparents' store where I spent many of my afternoons. The expression "white elephant" refers to something rare, precious, but also not very useful or difficult to maintain. It highlights the contrast between something's prestigious or precious appearance and its actual utility or profitability. I couldn't describe this vineyard better: a steep slope, offering low productivity, but rewarding in the satisfaction of working with such old Grenache vines.
Léah Anglès began her wine career working with Coume del Mas in 2014, she worked vintages abroad in Hawkes Bay and in Bordeaux before returning to do her oenology degree at Montpellier. She’s the first person in her family to go into wine. With a BSc in chemistry, she thought pursuing oenology and winemaking would be more fun than wearing a lab coat all the time. Her love of great food and curiosity about wine comes through in her four cuvées, which she farms from a scattering of dramatic parcels around Collioure and Banyuls. Predominantly Grenache, with some Syrah and Carignan, the wines are an electric take on the remarkable terroir Collioure has to offer; steep rocky slate and schist hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean, low bush vines buffeted by the cool Tramontane winds. These are some of the most beautiful and dramatic terroirs in the portfolio.
Léah has continued working with the legendary Coume del Mas even after beginning her own winemaking journey in 2018, she released her first wine under the 'Divay' label (meaning 'Wine' in her mother's ancestral Madagascan) in 2020. Since then she has moved into her own winery space and taken on 5 HA of vineyards that she manages totally by hand.
Her philosophy is one of tradition and purity, the winemaking is very hands-off, using a minute amount of SO2 post-malo but none at bottling. When it comes to the style of the wines she is not interested in early-picked light juicy wines, but rather in preserving the identity of the region, namely the deeply fruited, structural wines of Collioure and Banyuls that speak of the sun and the schist. These are wines of terroir that express the tension, amplitude and unique depth of the Southern Rousillon. Léah is no doubt one to watch and we'll be hearing a lot about her over the coming years.