Grapes at Domaine Leduc-Frouin

ripening grapes in the Loire

ripening grapes in the Loire

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Corbières from Castelmaure

Castelmaure Corbieres labelThe Corbières region is remembered for the Crusades against the Cathar heretics. The ruins of castles which rose to dizzying heights can still be seen on the crests of this mountainous region – Aguilar, Queribus, Peyrepertuse etc. Lagrasse and Fontfroide abbeys attest to the period when the monks first cleared the land to plant vines.
Corbières wines have traditionally been very “rustic”, but in recent years the wines from the defined “Terroirs”, such as the Montagne d’Alaric and Durban are elegant and smooth, retaining good spicy fruit from the Syrah and Grenache. Corbières lies to the south of the Minervois and the Toulouse to Narbonne autoroute.

Castelmaure is a very small, and quite isolated village high in the Corbiéres hills close to the border with Roussillon and Fitou. It is not easy to find – several kilometres up a winding side road, which must be a challenge for the lorry drivers. The village (Embres et Castelmaure) is small and feels a little as though it is in a time warp – but carefully maintained and friendly.

The landscape is rugged and dramatic, with few other crops able to survive on the rocky terrain. But this ruggedness produces wines of great concentration, full of mineral extracts, but it demands great skill to produce wines which balance the sheer power of the grape with roundness and finesse. In general terms we avoid co-operatives, but this “cave” has developed and maintains a reputation for quality and distinctiveness which few individual growers can aspire to. This is achieved by having a good winemaker, who insists on the highest quality of grapes. and strict quality control in the wine cellar – despite its age!

Le Corbières AC, Cave de Castelmaure – Elegant, spicy, full-bodied and smooth southern red – a very successful blend of rustic strength and real finesse – made from Carignan (50%), Grenache (30%), Syrah(15%), Cinsault(5%)
Corbières AC Grande Cuvée SCV Castelmaure– Wonderfully rich, oak-aged red with huge fruit and great complexity – really big in the mouth with smooth tannins, ripe fruits, toasty and spicy – needs rich food such as Cassoulet – Grenache(45%), Syrah(45%), Carignan(10%)
Corbières AC Le Blanc – SCV Castelmaure– Remarkably fresh dry white with lots of crisp apple and citrus fruit – Grenache Blanc(90%), Maccabeu(10%)

Address: Castelmaure CSV, Embres et Castelmaure, 11000 (Aude) – see map

UPDATE – Oddbins now stocks a cuvée La Chapelle, Corbières AC from Castelmaure:-
“Corbières accounts for a large portion of the western Languedoc, and with its chaotic mountainous terrain, produces some very good value wines that seem to ooze fruit and spice. This bottle from the quality co-op based in the village of Embres-et-Castelmaure, is Carignan-dominated and ready to drink now.

Tasting Notes : A dark and fruity nose of blackcurrant precedes a palate of spicy bramble, plum and cassis flavours, all wrapped up in a soft, silky mouth feel.
Producer : Cave de Embres-et-Castelmaure
Method of Production : The grapes were sourced from 30 to 60 year old vines, with each of the varieties vinified separately. The Syrah was destemmed, crushed and fermented, whilst the rest was kept as whole berries and carbonically macerated. Fermentation occurred in concrete vats for around five days (at up to 30°C), after which the wines were pressed from the skins, blended together and returned to vats to marry and mature for six months. The wine was fined with egg white, filtered then bottled.”

£5.99 or £4.79 if you buy 6 or more (product code: 69596)

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