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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (David Schildknecht) / Hecht & Bannier

2009-06-30 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Gregory Hecht and Francois Bannier’s negociant partnership – entering its seventh year – is singularly quality-oriented, and their connections with growers and tireless tasting trips throughout the Languedoc and Roussillon (350-400 visits each year) are rewarding wine lovers wherever their limited production is sold. Make no mistake: wines under the Hecht & Bannier label can compete with the very best being produced by individual estates in their respective appellations, making them among the world’s finest red wine values. Prices have remained unchanged for three vintages.
The aim in selection of lots, as well as in elevage (much of which takes place in foudres or demi-muid), is to capture ripe fruit and rich textures while conserving fresh fruit vivacity and setting a standard of lift and elegance such as is possessed by only the best wines being grown today in the Languedoc and Roussillon. The partners (who met as students in Burgundy) will remain focused on just a few outstanding locations where a sufficient number of growers (typically 8-12 per appellation) practice low yields, hand-harvest, press impeccably, and will honor a handshake “contract.” At most, they suggest, a couple of additional appellations might one day be added to their line-up (which also includes a consistently delightful Syrah-based rose). As Hecht puts it, “for the protection of all parties, we intend to stay small,” both in total production per appellation and volume per grower.
Meanwhile, in order to offer something less-expensive in higher-volume, a new cuvee has debuted this year – employing a new appellation that permits blending across both the Languedoc and Roussillon.

robert parker’s wine advocate (david schildknecht) / hecht & bannier