Château de Fontarèche

Languedoc, languedoc France

Château de Fontarèche is one of the most historical estates in the Languedoc. It has been in the Mignard family since 1642 and is today owned by Jacques De Lamy. The estate is managed, however, by head winemaker Vincent Dubernet, whose father preceded him as consultant winemaker.

The Château is surrounded by an impressive square of 160 hectares of vines, which are sustainably farmed and edged by 10 hectares of forest. The vineyards are divided by the road: those on the north side of the D11, beside and behind the Château, are classified as Corbières AOC, while those to the south of the road are IGP. The vines sit on an ancient limestone terrace and are rooted in a combination of gravel and limestone soil covered by large pebbles; water is easily absorbed but not well retained. The Mediterranean heat can therefore be challenging to manage in the vineyards, and irrigation, when permitted, is widely utilised in the region. Fontarèche has two kilometres of irrigation channels that surround their vineyards, allowing for effective drip irrigation whennecessary, which in turn results in full physiological ripeness, giving wines with lovely vibrancy and supple tannins.

The Tradition range bears testament to this vibrancy. The use of Vermentino in the blend of the Tradition Blanc results in a better wine, according to Vincent, but also means it contravenes the AOC regulations. That is why this delicious blend of Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc and Colombard is such a bright wine bursting with citrus fruit and refreshing acidity. The Tradition Rosé is an unusual blend of Picpoul Noir, Syrah and Grenache Noir. Vincent has championed the rarely seen Picpoul Noir variety, whose thin skins make it ideal for rosé production. It adds a scented red fruit character to the finished wine. A vibrant blend of Carignan, Grenache Noir and Syrah make up the Tradition Rouge, which boasts an expressive red fruit character and well-integrated tannins.

The Vieilles Vignes, a blend of the oldest vines of Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre on the estate, represents outstanding value. The oldest vines on the estate are the Carignan used in this blend, which were planted in 1962. It is hand-picked in whole bunches and undergoes semi-carbonic maceration to soften the tannins, whereas the Syrah and Mourvèdre are destemmed before fermentation and ageing in stainless steel. The result is an inky, fragrant wine brimming with pure blackberry fruit and a fresh herbal finish.

The Picapolle Noir (a play on the variety name Picpoul Noir), has a medium colour and a supple and expressive character, which demonstrates why this unusual variety is worth seeking out.

 

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Wines

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