Domaine Maby is found in the heart of the village of Tavel in the southern Rhône. There are some 60 hectares covering Tavel, Lirac and Côtes-du Rhône, with excellent wines produced in all three colours. The Tavel and Lirac vineyards have the same round pebbles (galets roulés) as are found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. These are precious for the region’s winemakers as they conserve heat accumulated during the day and then restore it slowly to the soil during the night which helps the grapes attain even better ripeness.
Richard Maby, who runs the estate, took over responsibility from his father in 2005 and brought much-needed enthusiasm back to the business. Before returning to the family domaine Richard worked as a broker at the French stock-exchange in Paris before committing himself to the life of a vigneron. He is a man full of energy and resolve to improve quality and to put his stamp on production methods, respecting tradition but embracing new techniques too.
The individuality of the famous Tavel rosés lies in their great structure and fruitiness, aptly displayed here at Maby, where the style is even chunkier. Richard goes so far as to claim that anyone tasting his rosés blindfolded would be hard pressed to know whether the wine was pink or red. His best cuvée ‘Prima Donna’, made from older vines, is a little fuller and more complex than the standard bottling, its name reflecting Richard’s love of opera.
Domaine Maby reds are meaty and packed with flavour. Lirac is especially generous in style and capable of ageing The estate’s white Lirac, a blend which includes the picpoul grape – a rare sighting in the Rhône valley – along with grenache blanc, clairette and bourboulenc, is dry and herby and true to the tradition style of the appellation.
Read our 15-minute interview with Richard Maby >