Posts tagged: winery

8 Languedoc Roussillon Winemakers from the Great Beyond

ViniSud is coming up soon, a huge trade fair with a massive amount of Mediterranean wines. I gather that a lot of Love That Languedoc readers might be in attendance this year. If it’s your first time at ViniSud, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. So I’ve been writing some lists and guides to help newcomers navigate ViniSud.

This is one of those lists. And since all the producers also Love That Languedoc, I thought I’d go ahead and put them on this site instead of the O’Vineyards blog.

The Outsiders

I belong to The Outsiders, a group of winemakers in the region who all originate from elsewhere.  A lot of us are presenting at ViniSud.  We’re doing an event together at the Pavilion 2.0 on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.  So those are great opportunities to taste our wines in one place.

More about the Pavilion 2.0 tastings on Monday and Tuesday.  RSVP on Facebook

And if you miss those events or just want to delve deeper into one of our members in particular, here’s a list with stand numbers and a wine they’ll be showcasing, explained by the winemakers themselves.  Enjoy!

Pinacle Syrah 2002 – Domaine de Sainte Rose
Cotes de Thongue – Hall 1, stand A8
Ten years ago, we moved to France, bought a vineyard, set up two businesses and started a family all at the same time!  To remind ourselves never to try and do that again all at once we have released a rather special wine from that first, rather stressful vintage!  Come and visit us at Vinisud and you can try the very exclusive, bottle aged 2002 Pinacle Syrah.  It is a huge wine, made with our real blood, sweat and tears and it is a living testimony that Languedoc wines can and do age well!

Occitania 2010 by Rives Blanques
Limoux – Hall 9, Aisle A, Stand 70

Occitania 2010,  the only 100% barrel-vinified Mauzac in the Limoux appellation.   We are particularly partial to this wine, maybe because we drank up the whole of the first vintage ourselves – nobody else would even taste it, let alone buy it.  Happy to say, the wine now sells out every year.   Mauzac is an old, traditional grape variety that has been growing in Limoux for over 600 years, used for Blanquette, the region’s famous fizz.   We have set aside two (organic) hectares of uncloned 50-year old vines for Occitania, and we’ll have a bottle of the latest vintage with us on at 9A70.

Domaine Jones Blanc 2010 by Domaine Jones
Roussillon – Hall 11, Aisle D, Stand 64 (Tuesday only!!)

The new vintage of Jones blanc 2011 has been desperate to get out and show itself off to the world.  Up Until now I have kept it back to mature and mellow just that little bit longer but on Tuesday the 21 st February I can hold it no longer and the Jones blanc Grenache Gris 2011 will be revealed to the world (or at least visitors to Vinisud).

Cuvée Henri 2008 by Château de Combebelle
Saint Chinian – Hall 9, Stand 9C18

For the first time, we will be presenting a magnum of 2008 “Cuvée Henri” (only like 150 produced). Made exclusively from a single vineyard on the estate and aged in 500l barrels for 2 years, this wine reflects our intensity and passion!  The bottle commemorates the birth of Henri into our family and a further addition to the family named Hugo may also be present (depending on its drinkability at the time!)  That is another single vineyard wine made exclusively from 70 year old Grenache.

Grand Vin Rouge 2008 by Château d’Anglès
La Clape – Hall 8 Aisle C, Stand 69

While Eric Fabre worked Cabernet and Merlot at Château Lafite Rothschild, he was dreaming of growing some Mourvèdre by the Mediterranean sea.  We will launch at Vinisud our Grand Vin 2008 which is our prestige red wine made for the first time of a majority of Mourvèdre! The former island terroir of La Clape gives to this Mourvèdre an amazing silky tannin structure, a savory balance and an incredible length. This new vintage will wear a new skin for the occasion : come have a chat with Eric and Vianney and taste!

Felgaria 2009 by Domaine de Cébène
Faugères – Hall 9, Aisle A, Stand 30

Brigitte Chevalier, this relatively neophyte winemaker, achieved both critical and competitive acclaim for the very first vintage at her Domaine de Cébène vineyard in Faugères. Being a woman in the übermasculine winemaking field makes her exploit even more notable. At Vinisud, taste her “Felgaria” 2009. The high proportion of Mourvèdre on schist soil makes this wine unique: she manages to master the masculine character of this impetuous varietal and crafts apowerful yet svelte wine full of grace. The balance between Yin and Yang.

Motus by Domaine Treloar
Cotes du Roussillon – Hall 6 Aisle C Stand 12 (Tuesday Afternoon ONLY)

This is my wine that is the most respected by connoisseurs and probably the biggest seller from the winery but has never had a high rating from a professional critic with most of them “Not getting it”. I don’t know if it’s because it is Mourvedre and they don’t really know what to expect or because it is labelled Cotes du Roussillon and doesn’t taste like other Cotes du Roussillons. Come and taste the Motus and tell me what you think.  If you can’t catch them Tuesday afternoon, the wine will be on tasting in the Palais Mediterranée for the entirety of the fair.

O’MG 2011 by O’Vineyards
Cité de Carcassonne – Hall 1 Aisle B Stand 21

While my parents have built a reputation around our estate wines at O’Vineyards, I’ve been building another kind of business on the side; I’m going to be able to start selling my neighbors’ wines abroad in addition to our own.  So this year we’re launching our first négociant cuvée.  A close collaboration between O’Vineyards and an estate on the other side of Carcassonne to make our new wine: O’MG.  The goal is to make a jaw dropping wine at a jaw dropping price so that people will say O M G.

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Harvest starting in the Languedoc

It’s hard for normal people to understand what harvest means to a winemaker.  It’s an intense moment (a moment that can last a month) in which a whole year of hard labor takes substance.  So much can happen in so few days.  And since I’m in a slightly later-harvesting portion of the region, I always get to watch the signs of harvest at my neighbors’ before things really take off at O’Vineyards.

Seeing the turned over fruit crates and empty buckets gets me all worked up.

harvest prep at couvent roujan photo: 5000vines

As early as 2 weeks ago, I was getting reports about precocious harvests in some parts of the Roussillon and Limoux. Now, we’re getting to the bulk of harvest season.  Even though I won’t be harvesting until mid September, I can still share all the Languedoc buzz that’s going down today.


Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux

Grenache Blanc and Marsanne coming in by hand at the Domaine d’Aupilhac. Video by intrepid caviste and videographer, Trinque Fougasse.

Pech d’André, Minervois

Some Clairette at Pech d’André.

Le Couvent, Roujan

Bringing in Grenache in the foothills of the Parc Naturel du Haut Languedoc.

Château Pech-Céleyran, La Clape

Harvesting Sauvginon Blanc in Côtes de Pérignan (think La Clape)


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Spring Vineyard Pictures

Vineyards around the Languedoc Roussillon are posting beautiful pictures that showcase that special spring time mood when life returns to the vines and wild flowers of the region.

Here are a few of my favorite photos with links to the original winemaker blog that posted them.


Budbreak at Borde Rouge.


Young pinot grows at Clos Romain


Springtime pictures from the 5000 vines blog attached to Couvent Roujan

This is the Syrah cane pruned.


Carignan in a type of head pruning, or bush pruning.


Gorgeous tractor picture from springtime in la RabidoteSer du vad fin traktorn blivit med nya bakdäck?  Inte!


And it’s not springtime without some wild asparagus popping up in the vineyard via @Domaine Jones


But spring also has its hardships.  March and April showers can cause a lot of problems.

Photos of la Clape after a torrential rain in March turns the massif into an island (or at least a peninsula) once again. via Pech-Céleyran

Fowl swimming in the vines.


And on Easter Sunday, the Corbieres was hit with a terrifying hail storm that has devastated certain parcels.   I don’t know of any winemakers who are posting photos yet (they’re surely busy sending said photos to their insurance companies!), but here’s an article from La Vigne that includes a photo of the damage.

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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
  • 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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