What makes them special?
The Domaine is run by the enthusiastic and energetic Éric Laguerre, who took over his family's 40 hectares of vineyards in 1999. Resolving to go back to basics and grow / make wine as naturally as possible from the start, Eric and his wife Corinne restored and replanted most of the vine-land and bottled their first vintage in 2001.
The result is organically-farmed and naturally-made artisanal Roussillon wines, offering superb wines and incredible value.
A visit to Eric in the tiny village of Saint Martin de Fenouillet (not far from Maury) requires steep climbs through a mountain pass up to the highest, cooler climate vineyards in the Roussillon (500 meters elevation). Here you’ll find plantings of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cabernet for red and, Grenache Blanc, Rolle, Roussanne, Marssanne Macabeu for whites, with an average vine age of 40 years old.
The vines sit on acidic terroir made of gneiss and broken-down granite with some pockets of quartz and decomposed granite. These soils combined with the cool climate, the “tramontane” winds, low yields and Éric's superb farming, create distinctive bright, balanced wine with freshness, fruit definition, excellent mineral tension that deepens with time in bottle.
In the vineyards, organic and biodynamic practices are observed, with certification awarded for the former and soon for the latter. Harvest in this area is typically late for the region, starting at the end of September and lasting until mid-October. The grapes are hand-harvested in the early morning to ensure freshness, with sorting done in the vines. The grapes are then taken to the cellar and fermented with natural yeast, and vinified separately in vessels such as fibre tanks, concrete tanks and old oak demi-muid.
Wines from Roussillon are often undiscovered gems. The whites combine purity along with weight and ripe fruit flavours. The reds on the other hand are often high in alcohol (over 14% natural) but not heavy.