Only those familiar with the beautiful rolling countryside of the Dordogne will have heard of the little known Côtes de Duras, despite the fact that it’s next to its illustrious neighbor, Bordeaux.
We discovered the beautiful Domaine du Grand Mayne there when looking for great value, interesting wines (and local goats cheese!), some 14 years ago and have built a wonderful relationship with the property ever since. Grapes grown from the 34 hectares of vines which are now an average of well over 25 years old, are the same as Bordeaux. Sauvignon and Sémillon for white, and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for red. The limestone and clay soils are also similar to Bordeaux, the clay giving a freshness to the grapes and the limestone structure and richness. It’s the combination of the two that makes the wines so great!
It’s also incredibly well equipped, with a fabulous chai containing rows of shining stainless steel tanks and an extensive barrel cellar that houses the award winning Réserve wines which rival the top wines of Bordeaux.
But it’s the people who also make the place and wines so special.
Young French winemaker Mathieu Crosnier has headed the team since 2011.
Mathieu trained in Bordeaux before gaining experience in New Zealand and Provence and his skills have added a real freshness and elegance to the wines, giving them New World accessibility whilst retaining the class and structure that’s great about wines from this glorious wine producing country.
Since 2015, Mathieu’s also been helped by a top South African winemaking consultant, Martin Meinert. Appropriate as before returning home to make some of South Africa’s most iconic wines, Martin has honed his skills at some of Bordeaux’s leading vineyards.
But the rest of the small team really also bring out the unique character of the place. Philippe (or Fifi for short!), has been at Grand Mayne almost since the start, so he knows every vine and its potential, Manu from Portugal is one of the hardest workers we’ve met, and Céline is really skilled in both the vineyard and the winery.
The lovely Sam and Perrine spend their time between office, vineyard shop and hosting regular wine tours for people visiting the area, and customers of Paxton & Whitfield are always welcome - there is even a fabulous, luxuriously equipped house with pool in the heart of the vineyard which can be rented for holidays and short breaks just an hour from Bordeaux airport and 30 mins from Bergerac. Retaining the authentic French charm of this beautiful boutique vineyard has, since 2015 been the responsibility of its current owners who are a group of over 600 primarily UK investors following crowd funding early in 2015. So far the signs are great for Paxton & Whitfield. We select our own special cuvée each year and we’re delighted that we can look forward to bringing our customers ever increasing quality from what is a fabulous place run by fabulous people for many years to come. Do let us know if you are interested in visiting the vineyard or finding out about staying at the house.