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Domaine Emile & Rose

In the village of Corneilhan, just north of Béziers, in the Hérault, sits Domaine Émile & Rose. The estate has been in the hands of Anne-Laure & Marc Royo since 2018.

A native of the Béziers region, Marc Royo had been interested in wine since he was a teen. Many of his childhood friends were from winemaking families, and he dreamed of making his own wine. Without any vineyards or money to invest, he spent several decades working as a hydraulic engineer in charge of the regional water supply, living just down the road from Domaine d’Emile & Rose until Caroline, the granddaughter of the eponymous Emile and Rose, announced she was planning to retire and sell the domain. The opportunity finally arrived for Marc Royo to become a winemaker.

The domaine has been farmed organically since 2001 and has grown to 27 hectares, consisting of poor, sandy and clay soil plots on small hillsides. The majority of the vines are 70-90 years old and are dedicated to native grapes such as Aramon, Cinsault, Carignan Blanc, and Carignan Noir. 

Vinification is done with natural yeasts at cool temperatures to prolong fermentation. Most of the wines are then aged in locally-made clay amphorae to provide a softer micro-oxygenation. Their goal is to produce easy-drinking “vins de copains” (“wine of friends”) While most estates in the area continue to farm conventionally and produce large quantities, Marc and Anne-Laure are passionately committed to maintaining a high level of quality so they can offer accessible wines that showcase a sustainable approach to local winemaking.

Key information

LANGUEDOC
Coteaux de Béziers IGP
27 hectares – ORGANIC 

 

The wine

La Rose d’Emile

Type: WHITE WINE  | Variety: CARIGNAN BLANC | Additional info: Organic, natural yeasts, minimal SO2

Carignan Blanc is a rarely-seen, white-skinned mutation of the red Carignan varietal that is indigenous to this area. It is a notoriously difficult varietal to cultivate and vinifiy, so many growers have abandoned it for more commercially viable grape varieties. But not Marc Royo, whose commitment to local varietals remains singular in the area.
 
The organic grapes are hand-harvested from just 1 hectare of vines planted in the 1920s and carefully sorted before fermentation in stainless steel and fiberglass tanks. It is then aged in neutral oak barrels and clay amphorae before blended together. This emblematic cuvée of the domain reveals a beautiful gold color. A floral nose combines with a fresh palate, along with subtle notes of kumquat, citrus and herbs. An extremely delightful white wine for lovers of unique varietals.
 
 

5 Seaux

Type: RED WINE  | Variety: CINSAULT, MERLOT, SYRAH, MARSELAN, CARIGNAN NOIR, CABERNET SAUVIGNON  | Additional info: Organic, natural yeasts, minimal SO2

The cuvée 5 Seaux (which means five buckets, but is also a pun on Cinsault, which predominates the blend) is vinified using partial carbonic maceration and aged in stainless steel to ensure a fresh, lively, lower ABV wine that is, honestly, completely atypical for such a warm region.

The color of this wine is delicate. The elegance of the nose is the first thing you notice. It reveals aromas of raspberry, wild strawberries, pepper and a touch of citrus. The palate is perfectly balanced with its blend of spices and freshness. This cuvée is a delicacy that pays a beautiful tribute to the local grape variety that is Cinsault.

Carignan Noir

Type: RED WINE  | Variety: CARIGNAN NOIR | Additional info: Organic, natural yeasts, minimal sulfur

An accessible take on the local Carignan grape, which is harvested 50/50 from new and old vines on the estate.

It has a beautiful purplish hue. On the nose, you’ll find a surprising blend of porcini mushrooms and freshly grated coconut. The palate is delicate, spicy and with a balsamic touch. It’s a nice balance with silky tannins and a fresh finish. 

La Vigne de mon Père

Type: RED WINE  | Variety: CABERNET SAUVIGNON | Additional info: Organic, native yeasts, minimal sulfur

Grown in a small organic plot of Cabernet Sauvignon, these grapes benefit from the sandy-clay character of the vineyards that are unlike those in Bordeaux. Adding to its unique character is the fact that it is aged in clay amphora… the result is a thirst-quenching Cab with gentle tannins.

Expresses blackberry, dark chocolate, with some tobacco on the nose but the palate is surprisingly fresh and fruity. A total crowd-pleaser made from a classic noble grape.