Maison Tardieu-Laurent

Maison Tardieu-Laurent, located in the iconic area of Provence in France, has no vineyard holdings of its own, but manages to produce some truly excellent wines.

This is only possible because the Tardieu family, who own the estate, know the wine industry inside and out and have managed to make a name for themselves in an ever competitive field.

La Maison Tardieu-Laurent is relatively new on the wine scene, but it has already made quite a name for itself. The Maison began life in 1994, founded by Michel Tardieu and Dominique Laurent. Originally based in the tiny village of Lourmarin, which is located in Provence, today the Maison is run solely by Michel Tardieu and his family, dealing in wines from the Rhone Valley.

Michel Tardieu, who was previously a government worker before founding the Maison, never thought he would end up in the wine industry, but since establishing the business, has found his niche and passion.

According to family legend, Michel would give his children a few drops of wine at Sunday dinners to help encourage their passion and love of French wines. Since then, the Maison Tardieu-Laurent has become a family business and Michel has reported being extremely pleased that those same children, 20 years later, are now helping him run the business.

Maison Tardieu-Laurent’s production volume is small. They only produce about 20 barrels per wine in a year, which amounts to about 6,000 bottles of wine per type, per year. This small production has helped to further Maison Tardieu-Laurent’s reputation as an artisanal wine producer.

The output here is primarily red wine, with a small number of whites as well. 39% of their output is made up of Syrah, followed by 30% of a Southern Rhone red blend, 14% Southern Rhone white blend, 8% Grenache, 4% Viognier and 2% Mourvedre.

The regions where the wines come from is also a significant factor in their production, as many cover some of the most famous regions of the Rhone. 23% of Maison Tardieu-Laurent’s wines are from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 16% are from Hermitage, 12% from Cornas, 9% from Cote Rotie, 7% from Cotes du Rhone and 5% each from Gigondas and Vacqueyras.

Maison Tardieu-Laurent is not a vineyard, but rather a negociant, or merchant in English. A negociant, instead of growing the grapes themselves, will buy grapes, juice or finished wines from growers, then bottle and sell the wines wholesale under their name.

Formerly, negociants had a poor reputation in France. People saw them as taking credit for other people’s work. However, what they’re actually doing is making an investment in the grower, taking on the expenses of bottling and selling.

Quite often, due to rules in the appellation guidelines, vineyards are only allowed to produce a certain amount of wine on their own in a year, this is also where a negociant will step in. A negociant, such as Maison Tardieu-Laurent, will buy up excess grapes from growers and produce wines with the excess that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Maison Tardieu-Laurent essentially matures and blends the wines in their cellars. All are aged in 100% new oak barrels for around 18 to 24 months. They are not fined or filtered and, after aging, are bottled to be sold.

Michel makes sure to have a hand in the whole production process, from start to finish. He makes sure to only pick the best grapes for his wines and oversees every aspect so that they meet his exacting standards.

Tardieu is a perfectionist when it comes to his wines and it shows in the final product. He checks where the vines are grown, how they’re grown, how the wine is produced, and, only if it all meets his rigorous standards, he will buy the new wines. This perfectionism shines through and makes for some truly stunning wines.

For you, we have selected the 2010 Tardieu-Laurent Saint-Joseph Les Roches Vieilles Vignes.