South West

Light rain, mist, healthy vineyards and gardens, and masses of sun flowers: these were some of the sights that greeted me on my first visit to Marine Leys’ vineyards. She was a couple of weeks away from vintage, and when we visited one of the parcels of Loin de l’oeil, bursting through the leaves was a fat, healthy and heavy bunch of grapes that could have weighed in at close to 700g. Her neighbour had told her that you don’t get many grapes when you’re organic…

Marine’s previous line of work was as a professional diver. She was originally doing camera work in films (then specialized in macro and underwater film) throughout Europe and worldwide. She ended up in Turkey, where she helped plant a vineyard for her employer, and eventually learnt how to make wine.

In 2012, she came back to France, and started working at Domaine Plageoles. Over the next couple of years, she managed to lease various parcels and convert them to organic. It was really inspiring listening to Marine’s story, and the challenges she has faced in being a female vigneron practicing organic viticulture, in an area with predominantly male, conventional vignerons. But she has succeeded – the proof is in the pudding. The wines are clean and solid, and express who they truly are.

Marine now farms 5 hectares of vines in Andillac planted with Duras, Syrah, Braucol, Mauzac, Loin de l’oeil and Gamay. The soils are made up of limestone and clay on the lower sites, with more schist at the higher sites.

Marine’s first vintage was 2014 and these wines along with the 2015’s are very impressive. The grapes are hand harvested, she uses zero additives, and as of 2016, zero sulfites. No oak is used, the wines are fermented and aged in fibre-glass vats and cement tanks.

These are precise, clean, fresh, and beautiful examples of what wines from this region can be. It is really exciting and a privilege to be working with someone who is at the start of her journey and already producing such amazing wines.