An extraordinary Rhône Domaine, Mas de Libian is an organic farm set on a plateau in the rocky terrain of the Ardèche, in the western hills of the southern Rhône. Having worked this soil since she was a young girl, there is no doubting Hélène Thibon’s passion for her vineyards in and around the tiny hamlet of Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche. There are 17ha in all, on a mixture of soil types. The vineyard and farm work at Mas de Libian is decidedly old school. The model at Mas de Libian is the farm as a self-sustaining environment instead of a production unit. It’s an ideal that resonates though the wines, which ooze all the natural wealth and charm of this great region. The ancient terraces of the Estate have the perfect exposure of south-south west on the western bank of the river. The vines are hand-tended and harvested, while the family horse still makes it through the vineyards from time to time, pulling the plough. No chemicals are used and very low yields are the norm. As the Mas de Libian biotope has come to offer an incredibly healthy environment for grape-growing, Hélène has little recourse for sulphur which is often not used at all during the winemaking process.
The hallmark of the Libian wines is vibrancy and vitality of fruit. They are fresh, brightly fruited and crunchy wines that clearly reflect an intuitive and honest dedication to the Domaine’s stony terroir and gnarled old gobelet vines. Based solely on the last handful of vintages, you couldn’t be blamed for arguing Hélène Thibon’s biodynamic Mas De Libian is one of the most exciting names in Côtes du Rhône.