Mas Amiel is a large property – the biggest private cellar in Maury – located in the heart of the Agly valley, in France’s Roussillon region. This is Cathar country: it’s beautiful but rugged – a hot, rather hostile environment with rocky, stony soils, frequent windy weather, and 260 days’ of sunshine a year. Back in 1816, a bishop used one of his plots of land as a bet in a game of cards. He lost it to Raymond Amiel, and this is how Mas Amiel was born. At the time, it only had 10 hectares of vines on it; it has grown substantially since then.
Mas Amiel was bought by Olivier Decelle in 1999. At the time, he was CEO of Picard Surgelés, a successful frozen food retailer. He’s renovated the vineyards extensively, started using biodynamics, and there are now 170 hectares of vineyards on this large 226 hectare estate. The schist soils in Maury are special – it’s like Priorat or Côte Rôtie.