The Mabys have been cultivating vines in the southern Rhône Valley village of Tavel since the early 19th century. Auguste Maby was the first in the family to focus entirely on producing wine from their 4.5 hectares of vines and would vinify them in the small cellar in the back of the family shoe shop. Auguste’s 15 year old son, Armand, joined him in helping to make the wines in 1936 when the family moved to a new house with a bigger cellar. By 1945, Armand was able to purchase vineyard land on his own and bought a house in 1950 where he built a more modern, traditional cellar; that same year marked the first vintage of Domaine Maby Tavel from the now 30 acre estate. In the early 1960s, Armand was joined by his son, Roger, his brother, Bertrand and his son in law, Christian Amido, who also owned vineyards in Lirac. The Mabys purchased 74 acres of land in Lirac and in 1970 planted vineyards to Syrah, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, Mourvèdre and Picpoul. Roger guided the Maby estate through the rest of the 20th century and his son, Richard, took over in 2005. Domaine Maby now covers 148 acres of vines in Tavel, Lirac and Côtes-du-Rhône which are all sustainably farmed.
This blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah was sourced from free draining, clayey-limestone soils covered with rounded river pebbles, known for lending structure and aging potential to Lirac rouge. And this is indeed a powerful and well-constructed blend that greets you with aromas of violet, cassis, very ripe black plum and dried thyme. These flavors carry over to the medium-plus bodied palate where they are met with earthier elements as in forest floor, licorice, cigar box, leather and black olive. There is ample spicy black fruit to offset the more savory qualities in the wine and the pleasantly chewy tannins provide just enough backbone. This hearty, layered and balanced blend truly over delivers for the price and would be a perfect accompaniment to roasted, herb and garlic-rubbed poultry or pork.