We’re Grateful That Gracia Marches to His Own Beat
Post by Cory Gowan | April 5th, 2011
If there’s any correlation to the craze of California cult wines in Bordeaux, it’s in the garagiste winemakers inside the town St. Emilion. An ancient UNESCO world heritage site constructed of stone, the city is full of cafés and bistros fighting for tourists, wine shops, shops open on a Sunday for that matter, as well as the two-Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Hostellerie de Plaisance hotel owned by Gerard Perse (Pavie, Monbousquet, Bellevue-Mondotte), St. Emilion is a mecca for the well-to-do tourist and wine traveler.
Straight from the grand cellars of Chateau Pavie, we rolled into town and walked down the narrow cobblestone streets. Though it’s almost the last place you’d expect to find a top Bordeaux winery, this is where we met with Michel Gracia, who makes the top-scoring garagiste wine Gracia. He was a sculptor before he made the first vintage of in 1997. Unlike most of the vignerons we visit in Bordeaux, Gracia doesn’t speak a lick of English and doesn’t bring a translator with him for American visitors. In fact, he insisted we speak Spanish. No matter, as his upbeat nature and welcoming smile were all we needed. (Oh… and the wine!)
Indeed, this truly was a garage winemaking facility. We made our way into his tiny winery/barrel room combo insulated with shiny silver foam tacked onto the walls and with low ceilings. Ducking our heads as we passed into the next room where vinification takes place in tanks, we realized it would have been impossible to move the equipment into this space. How did he do it, we asked? He told us he simply cut a large hole in the wall of the house next door and then cemented it back up. Voila! (more…)