France, Languedoc-Roussillon

Domaine Danjou-Banessy is a 17-hectare estate located in French Catalonia, just north of Perpignan, near the confluence of the Spanish border and the Mediterranean. The Domaine is managed by two dynamic and energetically experimental brothers, Benoît and Sébastien, who inherited the estate from their grandfather in 2001. Although the grandfather, and his forebears had for generations made Rivesaltes, the brothers have focused their considerable talents on the production of dry red and white wines.

The vineyards are farmed biodynamically and organically: neither the vines nor soil have ever been subjected to chemical treatments of any kind. Moreover, the brothers are so resolutely non-interventionist that the wines satisfy nearly any definition of “natural.” The vines have an average age in excess of 60 years, exclusively of indigenous varieties such as Muscat d’Alexandrie, Maccabeu, Carignan, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah. The multiple cuvées reflect not only the variable cépage but also the distinct parcels of vineyards with strikingly different soils. The Estaca vineyard is comprised of marl and schist, with silica and a trace of iron. The Truffière and Myrs vineyards lie on black schist and limestone, Clos des Escounils, in contrast, is composed of an admixture of clay and limestone.

The winemaking is resolutely non-interventionist, biodynamic, and thoroughly individualistic. The brothers employ eccentric techniques such as crushing by foot, whole cluster fermentation, wild yeasts, and occasionally extended elevage, even some elevage sous voile. All of the wines are stylistically distinct but invariably brilliant and complex.

COUNTRY France REGION Roussillon APPELLATION(S) Côtes Catalanes, Côtes du Roussillon, Rivesaltes WINEMAKERS Benoît and Sébastien Banessy FOUNDED 1950’s VINEYARD AREA 17 HECTARES FARMING Biodynamic (not certified); natural. WEBSITE N/A