In Sauternes, an appellation that is more well-known for wine châteaux than for the talented people that work the soil and make the wine, Valérie and Daniel Alibrand are braving it on their own without the safety net enjoyed by their more established neighbors. KLWM has a tradition of buying direct from the vigneron, which is not easy in Bordeaux, where brokers play a dominant role in the dealings and add a percentage to the cost of each bottle. Finding just the right fit in Bordeaux may be rare for us with standards like these, but when it happens, it is a rewarding feeling. It was love-at-first-sip when Kermit tasted the wines of Domaine de l’Alliance, and we are proud to welcome them to our portfolio.
The Alibrands are relatively new to wine, having started Domaine de l’Alliance in 2005, upon the purchase of the vines from Valérie’s side of the family. Although Daniel had been an Atlantic fisherman by trade, the two jumped at the opportunity to start their new vocation in Valérie’s hometown. Such a leap of faith has not been without its struggles, however the Alibrands have been attracting quite a bit of attention for such newcomers. They farm seven hectares of vineyards in the village of Fargues, known for the eponymous and prestigious wine château to which their land runs adjacent. They are fortunate to have old vines, which impart fabulous complexity to the wine, although it means lower yields than are the norm for Sauternes. (The yields for Sauternes average around 25 hectolitres per hectare, however the Alibrands’ vines only get 10-13, like Yquem!) They started farming in lutte raisonnée but have recently begun the three-year conversion process to have their vineyards certified as organic. Alliance refers to the marriage between man and nature, a fitting homage to this decision, and the salamander on the label pays tribute to the many they regularly find in their vineyard.