Domaine de Joÿ
In the beautiful Cotes de Gascogne region resides the Domaine de Joÿ founded in 1927 by Swiss emigrés Paul and Marguerite Gessler. In these rolling hills, we find perfectly beautiful terroir for wine grapes as well as grapes for wine distilled into Armagnac. Domaine de Joÿ produces both, guided by minimally interventionist philosophies in the vines and cellar. These philosophies are now being handed down to the 4th generation of Gesslers as brothers Roland and Olivier are handing the reins over to Roland’s son Gaël and his two cousins Vanessa and Kevin.
What’s striking when discussing the history of the domain with the Gesslers is how much research and care went into the planting of each specific grape variety, the location dictated in each case by a thorough examination of the soils which are quite diverse and complex, and the aspect of the hillside relative to the sun. For instance, Columbard, Ugni Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc are planted only on the south-facing slopes for best acid retention that will keep these grapes balanced, fresh and lively. Petit and Gros Manseng are at their most expressive planted in sandy clay soils. These five white grapes are most often blended to showcase and enhance the strengths of each. Inspired by the similarity of one vineyard area’s clay/limestone soils to those of the right bank of Bordeaux, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown. However, it would be a simplification to describe the wine produced from this plot as a value ringer for St. Emillion. All of the wines from Domaine de Joÿ have a breezy freshness and a Joie de Vivre about them that make them their own distinct pleasure.