We’re winemakers John and Kirsty Sanderson. We’ve happily made the south of France our home since 2008. If you’ve spent a holiday here, you’ve met us at wine tastings for mums and dads. I introduce locally-made wines. Kirsty makes sure glasses are poured and enjoyed.
2013 was an extraordinary year for our family. After several years of planning and effort, we produced our first vintage at Clos Ventas, a joint-venture vineyard with friends Mike and Cathi Dillon. Also in 2013, we welcomed the birth of our daughter Sophie with incredible joy.
We’ve jokingly debated which endeavour was the more difficult one. Due to a prolonged lack of sleep we were unable to settle the debate reasonably. Despite the sleepless nights and heart-pounding days filled with feedings, nappies, bud breaks, flowering, fruit set and varaison, we’re excited to share both new parent stories and our vineyard’s finest wine with you during your stay.
For now, I want to introduce you to the Terrasses du Larzac wine region. It is an area continuously recognised as one of the best terroirs in France, and the quality of the wines is what brought us here to make wine. It is geologically varied, having a diverse selection of soils, each with its own micro climates and all within a relatively small area. A quick trip out from Country Kids illustrates this point as you pass the red “ruffes” soils around Lac Salagou giving way to white chalky soils to the east and schist soils to the north. Combine all of this with the cooler air descending from the Larzac plateau, which helps to slow ripening and keep acidity levels higher, and you have the potential to make tremendous balanced wines.
Clos Ventas has four hectares of vines in Jonquieres, the heart of the Terrasses du Larzac. All our work in the vines and cellar is organic, biodynamic and done by hand wherever possible.
2013 was exciting. Preparing grapes for a rapidly approaching harvest in a region not known for efficiency was challenging. It wasn’t without problems in the vines, either, a non-existent spring, which all but ended hopes of a good year for most wine regions in the north of France, led into a relatively damp summer and autumn. As result, fungal disease pressure remained high throughout the year, requiring twice the treating in the vines than normally required.
It was, however, worth the effort as we have been rewarded with wines of exceptional purity and elegance. There will be three wines from our vineyard to sample this year, two reds and a white. One of the reds and the white will be available to sample during the summer holiday season at Country Kids wine tastings. The other red will not go into bottle until October.
We look forward to sharing our wines, alongside other excellent wines from our abundant region, with you during your summer holiday with kids that’s actually relaxing. Imagine that.
I must go. Sophie has fallen asleep, giving Mum and Dad a chance to prepare for your visit.