Aimé Guibert, founder of the renowned Mas de Daumas Gassac wine estate in Languedoc-Roussillon, has died aged 91.
Aimé Guibert died during the night of 14 to 15 May, his family said.
He will be remembered as a larger-than-life character who did more than most to show the high quality potential of Languedoc-Roussillon.
Having founded Mas de Daumas Gassac with his wife Véronique in 1970, Aimé Guibert would become the emblem of a resurgent Languedoc at a time when the region was thought to produce quantity but not quality.
There were many tributes on social media from those who had met Guibert, including author Patrick Moon and wine expert Jim Budd.
It wasn’t always certain that Guibert would produce wine. After discovering an old Mas for sale, the Daumas Mas, he asked Bordeaux soil specialist Henri Enjalbert to study the area.
Enjalbert discovered it to be a favourable place for Bordeaux grapes, so Guibert planted some, and on 13 September 1978, Emile Peynaud, the star of the Bordeaux winemakers, came to Mas Daumas Gassac and accepted the role of consultant – but only by phone.
Based in Languedoc, in Aniane, Mas de Daumas Gassac wines are classified as Vin de Pays de L’Hérault due to the estate’s use of grapes varieties outside the appellation rules.
But, good reviews in the international media have seen the wines dubbed Languedoc’s ‘first growth’.
Its 50 hectares are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Tannat, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto for reds and Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussane, Marsanne, Chenin Blanc, Petit Manseng, Sercial and Muscat.
In 2001, Guibert produced a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon in tribute to Emile Peynaud.
Guibert is also known for appearing in the Mondovino film by Jonathan Nossiter in 2003, in which he is portrayed as something of a defender against the industrialisation of winemaking. ‘Wine is dead,’ he declared in once scene, and he also criticised some in the business for ‘worshipping money’.
He is also well known for his fight against the arrival of Mondavi in Aniane.
Aimé Guibert is survived by his wife Véronique. Today, Mas de Daumas Gassac is run by his son Samuel with his siblings Roman, Gaël and Basile.