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Domaine de Clovallon

In the late 80s architect Catherine Roque bought an estate in the Haute Vallée de L’Orb, a river valley on the edge of Faugères, a renowned appellation in Southern France. Despite possessing exposed hillsides, southern exposure and virtually every soil type found in France, the area was considered too cold for appellation status. Catherine used this to her advantage. She chose to plant non-appellation grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Clairette, Riesling, Petit Manseng – and proceeded to produce acclaimed, natural IGP wines.

Catherine’s daughter Alix has now taken over after having worked with winemakers all over the world. Young and dynamic, she continues her mother’s natural approach – letting natural grasses grow between the vines and using animals in the farming, like applying manure from their neighbor’s cows as fertilizer along with a mix of natural valerian and dolomite.

As non-interventionist winemakers, their wines convey a respect for the land and vineyards, and they aren’t afraid to experiment with grape varieties and blends to produce an exciting range of cuvées.

Key information

languedoc-rouissillon
IGP HAUTE VALLÉE DE L’ORB
12 hectares – BIODYNAMIC

 

The wine

En Noir et Blanc

Type: WHITE WINE  | Variety: PINOT NOIR, RIESLING | Additional info: Biodynamic, indigenous yeasts, minimal SO2, unfiltered

Catherine Roque was among the first to grow Pinot Noir in Languedoc, after having pleaded its case with the regional authorities overseeing wine production in Pays d’Oc. A limestone cliff to the south isolates the high altitude vineyard from the warm coastal air, leading other non-traditional varietals to grow perfectly there as well, including Riesling.

This complex and unique wine is a blend of Pinot Noir vinified as a white wine, meaning the juice is fermented without the skins, along with the Riesling. Minimal sulfur at bottling.

Les Indigènes

Type: RED WINE  | Variety: FIELD BLEND | Additional info: Biodynamic, indigenous yeasts, zero sulfur, unfiltered

“Les Indigènes” is a field blend produced from a single vineyard of less than a hectare that was planted around 200 years ago and retains pre-phylloxera vines. As was the custom “back in the day” the vineyard was co-planted with a wide variety of grape types both white and red, many of which are nearly forgotten, including Carignan, Cinsault, Clairette, Grenache, Grenache Blanc. Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Malvasia, Muscat a Petits Grains, Ugni Blanc, Aramon, Terret, and Jacquet. All varieties are co-fermented using indigenous yeasts in old oak foudres and without temperature control. No additional sulfur added to this wine.

The vineyard itself sits high above the town of Bedarieux, only accessible by a narrow lane winding up from the town to the top of the hill. The vineyard is hidden from the eye because it is both walled and shielded by fruit trees. One has to pass through an entrance gate and then through a doorway framed by a stone arch. A true “secret garden”.