Liber Pater (“the free Father”) is one of the most exceptional projects coming out of France today. Founded in 2006 by Loïc Pasquet, who also works as the estate’s resident winemaker, this Bordeaux-based project champions the rare and indigenous grape varieties of the Graves appellation, some of which are planted on ungrafted rootstock dating back to the mid-19th century. These extremely limited, pre-phylloxera wines are some of the most sought-after—and expensive—bottlings to come out of the region today.
The project’s name, Liber Pater, translates to ‘the free Father,’ who was believed to be the equivalent of Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and fertility. Liber Pater generally puts out less than 1,200 bottles of these coveted wines each year. These coveted wines have achieved cult status in an impressive amount of time, and make for enviable additions to cellars everywhere.
Comprising seven hectares, of which just two are planted to vines, Loïc Pasquet farms the property using traditional methods. All work is done by hand and mule. Vineyard density clocks in at around 20,000 plants per hectare, which is up to four times the standard amount today. However, despite the high density, these old vines produce some of the lowest yields in all of Bordeaux. Pasquet’s vineyards are planted to a number of regional varieties, including Petite Vidure (an old massale selection of Cabernet Sauvignon), Castet, and Saint Macaire, as well as the better known varieties of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the cellar, fermentation takes place in oak barrels and macerations are longer than average. Post-malolactic fermentation, the wines age for three years in Italian amphorae. Currently, Pasquet makes four cuvées:
Liber Pater (a traditional red blend that is the estate’s flagship wine)
Liber Pater Clos de Landiras (produced only during exceptional vintages)
Liber Pater Blanc (made with Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc)
Liber Pater Denarius (entry-level wine made from both red and white blends).