Estagel (Côtes Catalanes) Roussillon
Practising Biodynamic & Permaculture. Certified Ecocert
Semi-coastal climate on isolated parcels. Clay, limestone, granite & schist. Selective use of bouilli Bordelais, application only in spring during the evening. Some green pruning once in spring.
In 2001 Olivier & Emmanuelle decided to purchase their vineyard in Estagel (Roussillon) in the heart of the Agly Valley in the South of France, a place that is at the same time baron and teaming with life. The micro domain on the unique microclimate have released their 1st vintage in 2002 and have been a best kept secret since.
Olivier hands us an herb bundle that smells like his wines
Driving in from Perpignan you move further away from the ocean but feels its influences as your surrounded by lush landscape, harsh terrain & searing sun. You smell the sea air, its the valley beyond the beach and its a special place. The vineyard itself spreads over 6 hectares. The isolated location of the vines between the forest and jagged stony hills encourages Olivier and other winemakers in the area to work with the landscape rather than against it. Each of his plots is fenced to protect from wild game.
The area itself has been increasing in bio diversity since Oliviers take over, he is someone who really takes the notion of being caretakers of the planet to heart. Referring back to that concept of ¨working with the environment rather than against it¨ Olivier is a champion of terroir and of synergising the land and the wine. They do not use chemical fertilisers, weed killers, pesticides or any other synthetic entrants. The back breaking work of weeding this terrain is done by hand will regular passes through each plot and the soils are ploughed only once annually. Olivier´s ultimate goal is to support vines in their search for natural balance, the balance between the fruit, the soil where the vines live and the ecosystem surrounding the both.
“Warming is always a challenge in our wind swept, sun bathed vineyards. We prefer to harvest & intervene in the cool of the morning when the grapes are having their rest. Harvesting is done at the limit when they reach peak phenolic and gustatory maturity. We look for the balance of the firm tannic quality and nuanced aromas of these varieties”