Domaine Marion Pla is named for the winemaker, Marion. Located in the village of Cessenon-sur-Orb, in the prestigious Saint-Chinian appellation in the Languedoc, Marion and her brother Antoine are the third generation to grow grapes on the property.
Jean-Pierre, Marion’s father, took over grape-growing responsibilities from his father in 1978 – although he started his working life as an electrician. Like his father, he didn’t produce wine other than for the family. He began farming by what we’d now consider organic methods in 1983. Marion decided to study winemaking at university and wanted to make organic wine. After graduation, she began the process of organic certification. Thanks to her father’s good choices, it was a relatively easy task. Marion makes five wines, all certified organic in France and the E.U., plus two AOC Languedoc bag-in-box wins. But she started off making a single red wine that she named Premier Sceau, or First Seal, containing Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Carignan. She expanded her selections after a couple of years both by acquiring another vineyard for her white wine, and also adding two more reds and a rosé.
Looking at the labels, the first thing you notice is the thumbprint – it’s Antoine’s from when he was a teenager and picked up a bottle of Marion’s first production with dirt on his hands. But they all liked the look of it. He now works for the family in sales (and harvesting, of course), which was pretty much pre-ordained when he picked up that first bottle.
Marion has never exported to the U.S. before. It’s a lot of paperwork to get to export to the U.S., so she and Tom decided not to press for organic labeling this year – but will for next year.
Les Larmes de Jeanne – Jeanne’s Tears – seems like a strange name for a wine. Jeanne was Marion’s grandmother. When she and her husband were first married, life at the vineyard was hard and it was difficult to make ends meet. After starting as a winemaker, Marion decided she wanted to make white wine and began looking for land to grow Roussanne and White Grenache. Her grandfather told her that he would often ogle new land for more grape production, but that Jeanne would get angry and would sometimes cry at the thought of an uncertain future when things were already so hard. So Marion named her white wine for her grandmother’s tears – a testament to the not-so-distant past and how much her family’s fortunes have improved.
The wine is equal parts Roussanne and White Grenache, aged in steel. It’s light and fruity, with good balance and a richness on the finish. Also some minerality and aromas of fennel and anise.
||AOC Saint-Chinian White
||Domaine Marion Pla
Pair with robust chicken and pork dishes, strong cheeses, fish and seafood.