While we don’t work extensively with the wines of southern France, you can be assured that when we do, it is with good reason. Run almost single-handedly by the talented Brunnhilde Claux, this grower’s juicy and engaging wines turn the typical Mediterranean red stereotype on its head.All the vines lie in and around Cesseras, a village within the prized La Livinière terroir of high-country Minervois, at the foot of the Languedoc’s Montagne Noire. This elevated, limestone-rich part of the appellation has always held enormous potential. Today, Claux is one of a handful of hardy souls showcasing what is possible when these rocky soils and old vineyards aren’t beaten down by chemicals and technical winemaking. At the heart of Domaine de Courbissac lies a collection of 90-year-old Grenache, 70-year-old Carignan and 70-year-old Cinsault, as well as some Syrah and Mourvèdre that clock in at 40-odd.Unsurprisingly for a grower who trained under Roussillon royalty, Gérard and Ghislaine Gauby—and who worked in Priorat with Terroir al Límit—Brunnhilde has plenty of experience handling the natural exuberance of grapes grown in the generous climes of the Mediterranean hinterland. Working with low yields, Claux continues to nurture the estate’s existing biodynamic tradition, though her main drive has been to work the vineyards to achieve ripeness at the lowest possible Baumé. She captures as much freshness as possible.This work, combined with gentle extraction, whole-bunch winemaking, low sulphur additions and the absence of new oak, results in a paradoxical mix of power and refinement and a range of wines that are appreciably livelier, more seductive and more digestible than what we have come to expect of this appellation. Of course, this is the South of France, so you want—and get—flesh and fruit. Yet here, lower alcohols set free a buoyant, juicy finesse rarely encountered in this part of the world.