Winery to Watch 2012

Roussillon, France: Domaine Singla

Laurent de Besombes Singla was studying law when he made an about-face and returned home to the Agly Valley, where his family farms 618 acres of vines that have been in the family since 1780. He began managing it in 2001, setting aside 62 prime acres, converting them to organic farming (certified in 2006) and then to biodynamics. He farms only vines that are traditional to Roussillon—syrah, grenache, carignan, mourvèdre, muscat, macabeu and roussanne—at yields as low as one ton to the acre, using them to fill out a broad portfolio of table wines. Hismost remarkable workmay be in Rivesaltes, a category that, like most dessert wines, has largely fallen out of fashion. One taste of his 2003 Ambré, a fortified wine from macabeu matured for five years in old oak barrels, could change that: It radiates sunny flavor, its vibrant acidity teasing notes of orange peel and citrus marmalade from its cashew richness, everything holding to a long, lean line.