Located in Saint Marcel d’Ardèche on the western side of the Rhône river, at the very end of the gorge of the Ardèche, Mas de Libian has belonged to the Thibon family since 1670. A family winery handed down from generation to generation, these 25 hectares have always been worked organically and are certified biodynamic by Demeter.
Gustave Thibon (1903- 2001) began working as a farmer when his father was away fighting in World War I, then shifted to focus more on philosophy.
His third child, Jean-Pierre Thibon (known as “Papou”), married Jacqueline (alias: Ou-i) in 1974. A cardiologist, she left a life in medicine to work in the vines. They lived happily ever after and… had a lot of daughters: Hélène, Catherine, and Cécile.
Jean-Pierre decided that the main activity at Libian would be wine: he built a cellar in 1970, which was later enlarged in 1982. The vines were, from the beginning, under organic agriculture: they plowed the soils, hoed by hand in the spring, treated the vines with copper and sulfur, etc. A continuation of this philosophy and an important milestone for the domaine was being certified biodynamic in 2005.
The vineyards are primarily exposed south and southwest, with some facing north (where the Syrah vines are planted). These vines are on what were once terraces of the Rhône river, and we are lucky enough to have a remarkable view of the whole valley: the Trois Becs, the Lance, Mount Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail, the Alpilles, etc.
The soils of our Côte du Rhône parcels are composed of clay and limestone with some rocks. For our wines that are classified as Côte du Rhône Villages, however, the terroir is uniquely that of large round river rocks and red clay.
The average age of our vines is fairly high, at about 30 years old. Only organic and biodynamic agriculture methods and endeavor to maintain the balance of nature. The soils are plowed and hoed:it never use weed killers.
They decided to orient themselves fully towards biodynamics starting in the autumn of 2005 with Demeter certification. And in November 2006, the handsome workhorse Nestor came to help plow and turn the soil in the vineyards.
The vines are pruned in the gobelet (goblet) style. This is the traditional pruning method for the southern part of France known as the “Midi.” It is this particular way of training their vines that will allow them to last for years to come.
In the spring, they systematically de-bud by hand in all of their parcels in order to limit yields at an earlier stage in the vine’s growth. they will also green harvest at the end of July if it’s necessary.
They start harvest in early September, beginning in the parcels that ripen earliest (they have a nice exposition and are sheltered from the strong southern winds). Harvest is done exclusively by hand and their team is trained to select only the healthiest grapes from each vineyard to go into their wines.