Posts tagged: tourism

Visiting Vineyards in Corbieres – Top 5

I’m really pleased about how many winemakers in the Corbieres are sponsoring and attending VinoCamp Languedoc on March 19th, 2011.  And after tweeting about the appelation’s enthusiasm, Jamie Goode asked “Which would be your top five corbieres producers for punters to visit?”

twitter screenshot of jamie goode asking about corbieres vineyards

I love the question and I think the answer is worth writing up on this blog in more than 140 character and a slightly more searchable format.  A big thanks to Jamie for asking.

Keep in mind that these are not the only domaines in the Corbieres.  They’re not even my personal top 5 since many of my favorite places are more fun for the engaged wine lover and less fun for your average wine drinker.

This is a list of 5 that are perhaps best-suited for your typical “punter”.  British slang which, to me, implies that the visitor is not a wine professional but just a curious person on vacation who enjoys the occasional glass of wine.  And if anybody gets offended that I didn’t put them on the list, they can always just email me.

Top 5 Corbieres Producers to Visit

  • La Voulte Gasparet, Boutenac – Boutenac is one of the grands crus of the Languedoc now, a special subsection of the larger Corbières.  La Voulte Gasparet is a family estate that receives people for tastings with regular opening hours.  You can also peek around their barrel room if you ask nicely.  While you’re in the area, you might also try to drop by Domaine Fontsainte.  These are estates where you’ll taste with the actual winemakers.   Some other famous properties in the area like La Forge (one of Gerard Bertrand’s) don’t open the doors to the general public :-ç  but you can always try to call and arrange a tasting.Château la Voulte Gasparets
    11200 BOUTENAC
    (0)4 68 27 07 86
    chateaulavoulte@wanadoo.fr
  • Chateau Le Bouis, Gruissan – Le Bouis is a gorgeous estate in the northeast of the Corbieres.  You can see La Clape from their vines, but they’re still technically Corbieres.  They’ve got a restaurant, rooms, and lots of concerts and animations during the summer.  Also, proximity to Narbonne and the beach make this an easy destination for people to plan into the itinerary.  I don’t know what the winery tour is like since I just get tend to get distracted by the restaurant and beautiful landscapes.Route Bleue
    11430 Gruissan
    (0)4 68 75 25 25
  • Domaine Baillat, Montlaur – This is probably the most authentic independent winemaker on the list.  It’s hard to pick just one since the Corbieres has literally hundreds and hundreds of independent producers.  But Christian Baillat speaks English, German, French and even Occitan.  He’s a quirky, organic producer and he participates with WWOOFing programs that bring kids in from overseas to learn about winemaking.  You’d best call ahead.31, avenue de Malbec
    11220 Montlaur
    (0)4 68 24 08 05
  • Castelmaure, Embres & Castelmaure – Since this question was inspired by me fawning over the famous cooperative, I would be remiss not to include them.  But this is going to be a gift shop tour.  That means you go into a nice room where they hold tastings (and it will be conveniently close to a cash register).  If you’ve got a group of 10 or more, you can call and make a reservation to visit the actual winery.4, route des canelles
    11360 Embres & Castelmaure
    (0)4 68 45 91 83
  • Mont Tauch, Tuchan – Another popular cooperative, and another gift shop tour.  Again, groups of 10 can call ahead to get a winery tour.  There are interactive displays and videos all around the shop, free tastings, and that ever present cash register.   The strength of these co-op tours is that they’re unintimidating.  You go in and taste.  You don’t have to say anything clever as you sip through their wines.  If your toddler starts to throw a fit, you can always just leave.Les Vignerons Du Mont Tauch
    11350 Tuchan
    (0)4 68 45 41 08

Google Map

corbieres wineries map

Not really a producer, but…

  • Terra Vinea, Portel – You might be thinking this is more than 5 recommendations.  But honestly this last one isn’t a recommendation so much as a mention.  Terra Vinea is a tourist destination devoted to wine.  I cannot recommend it as I have never been.  But here is a promotional video that you can watch.  You will quickly determine whether it is the place for you.

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Visiting Mas Daumas Gassac with Aimé Guibert – Love that Languedoc Ep 18

Thanks for all your patience, Anglophones. I finally edited down the video from my visit with Aime Guibert AND I subtitled it. Some of the subtitles pass by a little bit too quickly, but you can use that pause button to your heart’s content (or watch it a hundred times). I think Aimé is just a fascinating character and I hope the edited down version retains all the charm, humor and tragedy of the original unedited footage of our Daumas Gassac tasting.

You should also note that I take some liberties in the translations. “Ils n’en ont rien à foutre” is somewhere between “They don’t give a shit” and “They don’t give a fuck.” I went with my gut, and my gut was being especially lewd.

Now, our car ride with Aimé was very fun, but we also had a treat waiting for us in the winery where we did a tasting of three Mas Daumas Gassac wines. These are wines that are very hard to taste so young, but very interesting. Over all, I was impressed but I really want to see where the wines go in ten years or so. I guess that’s kind of the magic of Daumas Gassac. Aimé Guibert was one of the first pioneers with the guts to say he could make a vin de pays de l’Herault that was good enough to make people cellar it for at least a decade. Enjoy!

The wines:
Mas Daumas Gassac Rosé Frizant 2008, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault
Mas Daumas Gassac Blanc 2008, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault
Mas Daumas Gassac Rouge 2007, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault

A note on pricing: Gassac is suprisingly affordable if you buy it ahead of time. They make amazing prices for their futures. Whereas, waiting for it to appear in stores, you’ll typically pay upwards of 80 Euros. At the futures prices, you are getting amazing bang for your buck. Another thing… I got some sticker shock from that bubbly rosé at 12€. Not unreasonably priced, but it’s a playful wine and a serious price. Surprised me a tiny bit. But the red and white at the futures prices! Those are awesome.

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