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Then each year we acquired more land and planted new grapes which meant we were constantly expanding. 1997 saw the creation of large underground cellars to house the barrels and casks. In 1998 I decided to acquire some totally different land which had been cultivated two centuries earlier but long since abandoned. At an altitude of 350 metres, "les Cocalières", is a natural amphitheatre covered in wild garrigue. Two years later we built a bottling and storage unit. We are converting to entirely organic production with an Ecocert certificate. AND NOW : I've just leased 2,5 hectares (6,25 acres) of Cinsault, just below my "Cocalières" vines. They will be used in the Lou Maset wines, and possibly to help enhance the Montpeyroux vintage. We shan't use the grapes with the "Cocalières" wines. Follow this space...
Practices & Techniques
We harvest the grapes by hand. The skins must be properly mature if we are to extract the best aromas and colour, as well as ensuring silky tannins. On young vines we carry out a summer or green harvest to remove some bunches before they reach maturity; this stops the vines suffering from the heat and helps root development.
The land's own yeasts ensure the grapes ferment naturally. The wines mature in casks and barrels in our underground cellar. We bottle the wines ourselves at the Domaine - unfiltered.
We believe that work in the vineyards has far more influence on a wine's quality than what we do in the Cave.
~ THE REDS ~
The grapes are de-stemmed and lightly pressed to release the juice before being gently transferred into open inox vats by means of a special 'pig's tail' curly pump which avoids oxidation. Each grape variety is vinified separately. Fermentation starts without added yeast thanks to those naturally present on the skins. During this stage, temperature is firmly controlled at between 25 and 31°C using sophisticated cooling equipment.
The lees are circulated to ensure that :
- the fermenting matter is properly oxygenated.
- the 'chapeau de marc' (solid material that rises to the top) is kept damp helping us to extract the goodness gradually and gently.
Once the alcohol fermentation completed, we continue circulating and pressing the contents until the 'chapeau de marc' sinks. The 'wine' is tasted each day to pinpoint the exact moment when it should be moved to the special casks or tuns where the malolactic fermentation and maturing process run their course.
~ THE WHITES ~
We pick in the cool of the early morning to avoid oxidisation, ensure the grapes retain all their fresh aromas and save the energy that would used to cool the grapes on their journey to the cellars. Immediately on arrival, the grapes are pressed and skins and stems removed. The juice is kept cool in vats to delay fermentation thus allowing any particles to sink and be removed. The juice is then gravity fed into vats and casks where alcoholic and malolactic fermentation proceeds at between 18 and 25° C. The vinification process is similar for both our white wines. On the one hand, the Chardonnay, Ugni-blanc and white Grenache, and on the other, the Rousanne, Marsanne, Vermentino (Rolle) and white Grenache, are blended once the wine is clear.
~ THE ROSÉ ~
We use 3% of the overall black Appellation grapes for our rosé. They are bled, then lightly pressed, fermenting in inox vats at between 18 and 25°C.
We use no yeast, enzymes, tartaric acid, vitamins, nor any other chemical or artificial additives, in any of our wines be they red, white or rosé.
~ MATURING ~
Each grape variety matures separately until the July of the following year. Naturally, not only do we taste each one to follow its progress, we experiment with a variety of blends. Each barrel and tun is topped-up monthly to ensure that evaporation cannot cause the wines to oxidise. In the early summer, the wine is transferred into new tanks then we blend. Once completed, the wine is replaced in casks and tuns to complete its maturing process. A month before bottling : back it goes into vats where the final blending is completed.
~ BOTTLING ~
We do not filter our wines each is bottled under gravity. It goes without saying that we bottle depending on the cycle of the moon : whether it is waxing, waning or full.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
We've been growing grapes for over 5 generations. A large part of our vines grow on south-west facing "terraces" on a site named "Aupilhac". They're mainly Mourvédre and Carignan , but some Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault grow here too.
Another part of our vineyard is the north-west facing "Les Cocalières" at an altitude of some 350m (1150ft) where Syrah predominates, though Mourvédre and Grenache grow here too. The most northerly facing part is planted with the four white grapes recognized by the Coteaux du Languedoc: Roussanne, Marsanne, white Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino).