Domaine Viret, Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues

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Located just northeast of Orange, Philippe Viret’s domaine is truly one of a kind. The winery itself is made of limestone blocks from a nearby Roman-era quarry that were reassembled in the same configuration in which they were cut from the ground. Built in multiple tiers into the top of a hill, the structure maintains the same ambient temperature as the interior of the hill itself. In Viret’s surrounding vineyards, both the planting and cultivation of the vines is performed according to the tenets of Cosmoculture, a system that Viret himself developed. Cosmoculture is similar to Biodynamics, with the addition of taking into account what Viret describes as the earth’s energy fields. The rows of vines are aligned with these currents, in some cases forming whorls and spirals, conventional straight lines in others. Regardless of what one may think of his techniques and beliefs, the results in Viret’s bottles are undeniable: these are uniquely wonderful wines, with gorgeous texture, complexity, and clarity of terroir.