In the heart of the French Midi, Europe’s largest organic wine region, the 135 hectare Château de Caraguilhes is a fine example of an organic estate. In the Corbieres appellation, near historic Carcassonne, it previously formed part of Fontfroide’s Cistercian abbey. Here, organic pioneer Lionel Faivre was the first owner to bottle on his domaine rather than sell to the local co-op. His methods were always organic, but it was not until the early sixties that he thought to register, gaining his ecocert in 1966. In 2005, Pierre Gabison took over sole ownership of the business. With a love for wine and a genuine devotion for Caraguilhes and the region, Pierre is currently involved in a renewed rejuvination to the vineyard and to the Château. Pierre’s aim is to produce uncompromising quality wine from healthy vines which offer a natural expression of the domaine’s unique terroir, continuing to push the organic philosophy and improve quality. The vineyard is ploughed eight times annually, and weeding between vine roots is done manually with hoes. It’s easy to see why organic production was a natural development at Chateau de Caraguilhes. It is surrounded by 500 hectares of scrubland and is naturally isolated. Consequently the vineyard established its own ecosystem with flora and fauna. It has its own water supply and there is no risk of drift or disease from nearby farms or vineyards.
CUVÉE CLASSIQUE BLANC
Corbieres Blanc is an interesting rarity in a region more famous for its reds; this blend of 65% marsanne, 35% grenache blanc is a dry, full bodied, eminently ‘food-friendly wine’, with subtle exotic aromas and satisfying savoury flavours, culminating in a wonderfully bright finish. There are fig, yellow peach and nougat characters, and freshness evidenced by high country minerality and snappy acidity which subtly underwrite the whole structure. A twist of nutty Mediterranean indulgence, perhaps derived from a 10% barrel elevage, completes the picture.
CUVÉE CLASSIQUE ROUGE
50% syrah, 20% carignan, 15% grenache, 15% mourvèdre. The fruit for this cuvèe comes from the low lying, clay/limestone hills of Boutenac where the climate has strong Mediterreanean influence that allows mourvèdre and carignan to ripen well. On the nose, ripe mulberry fruit and spice are complimented with leathery nuances buried just beneath the surface. On the palate, dark fruit and sweet ripe tannins bind together to deliver a meaty and muscular wine with great length and complexity for your dollar.
CUVÉE CLASSIQUE ROSÉ
A bright, vivacious wine, in colour as well as depth of flavour, the Caraguihles Corbieres rose is the estate most famous and sought-after bottling. Made from 50% syrah, 45% grenache, 5% carignan it comfortably straddles the the Tavel and Provencal models in style.