Arboras is undoubtedly best approached from the north, for to do so provides a clear picture of the unique conditions which, given combination with the decomposed limestone schists, sands and gravels which abound here, make the terroirs of Larzac so special. The traveller should leave the north-south A75 at La Caylar, some 20 kilometres after crossing Norman Foster’s spectacular Millau viaduct, then take the D9 southward. One immediately finds oneself driving through a strange landscape of rock formations, pine trees and wild box, the latter giving the place the appearance of a surreal prehistoric garden, all interspersed with stone-walled meadows grazing the Lacaune, Manech, and Basco-Béarnaise sheep which provide the raw material for the famous Roquefort cheese. This is the Plateau de Larzac. After some miles you reach a bend, then another, and quite suddenly the Languedoc is spectacularly spread out in front of you. Several hairpins below lies the village of Arboras. This is the abrupt meeting place between the cool of the high Cevennes and the heat of the Mediterranean south, one of the essential keys to the complexity and poise of the wines of the Terrasses du Larzac.

La Réserve d’O is run by Brazilian ex-agronomist Marie Chauffray and her rock ‘n’ roller and ex-Parisian ‘caviste’ husband Frédéric, a couple who grew restless with the retail side of the wine trade, settling in 2004 in this wild and scenic place, where they bought 12 hectares of old Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah high up on a craggy, calcereous terrace above the village, beyond which rears the grey sentinel of the Mont Saint Baudille. Wild thyme, sage and fennel grow amongst the vines, which are certified as both Organic and Biodynamic. The couple built a winery out of huge rectangular limestone blocks from the same quarry as provided the materiel for the Roman viaduct at Pont de Gard. It is an entirely gravity-fed affair in which the grapes are brought in under the open eaves of the roof, the wine being vinified and aged in the storey below. Techniques are properly low-intervention – fermentation under indigenous yeasts, with no enzymes or other additives, no fining or filtration, and very little or sometimes no sulphur at bottling. There are four red wines. SanSoo is a no-sulphur bottling, 50/50 30 year old Cinsault & Syrah at 25hl/ha, marketed only until April of each year and designed for immediate consumption. It is pure, bright and vibrant, the essence of the grape. La Réserve d’O is Grenache and Syrah with a little Cinsault, Hissez O older plots with some ageing in used barriques and demi-muids, whilst Bilbo is primarily Grenache from 40-70 year old vines. They all combine vibrant flavours of red and wild black fruits, with notes of black olives and herbs, with a wonderful freshness of character.





2014  SANSOO (Shipping in Spring 2015)






2013  BILBO



2011  HISSEZ O



2009  HISSEZ O




“2006 La Reserve d’O. Mulberry nose – very ripe and sweet and pretty and upturned. Beautiful arching acidity and structure. Fruit is perfectly rounded, dark forest berries with a smudge of liquorice. Brambly. Wild and almost gamey. Absolutely stunning. 17.5/20” Jancis Robinson MW, Financial Times &

“2005 Dancing-out-of-the-glass mulberry confit on the nose. It made my mouth water. Savoury charred edges framing soft violet and a tongue-tip of burnt sugar. All very subtle against that dark purple velvet backdrop of mulberry. Lustrously smooth, finishing with charcoal and some finely-knit spice. A broad finish. 17/20. Jancis Robinson MW, Financial Times &