Marc Castan, was born in Narbonne and spent his childhood in the Corbières Maritimes area where he developed a passion for both the sea and the land. After graduating from high school, he decided to study winemaking and to recover the vineyards of his grandfather. In 2009 Marc vinified his first vintage. An organic approach is obvious to him so both the vineyard and cellar are worked with minimum input, and with a great respect for life and nature. The vineyard plots are spread over the communes of La Palme and Leucate on clay soils and limestone. Some are bordering a small lake, while others are close to a seaside cliff. The vineyard covers 37 acres. The yields are quite low, varying between 8 and 30hl per ha. The plots are surrounded by varied vegetation: tamarind, pines, reeds, olive and almond trees, and low scrub vegetation. In the vineyards, he uses biodynamic practices without certification. The management includes careful pruning and tending of the wounds, homemade compost and soft ploughing. Harvest usually starts as early as mid-August to preserve natural acidity. He harvests everything by hand in small boxes, only in the morning to avoid exposing the harvest to summer heat. In the winery, vinification happens naturally: no selected yeast or oenological inputs. He only uses a tiny amount of sulfur at bottling. Grape varieties planted: White (Macabeu, Grenache gris, Carignan Blanc, Muscat à petits grains) and Red (Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault).
Microcosmos, an urban winery owned by Fabienne and Lukas Völlmy in the old part of Marseille, started in 2012. The name of the winery, Microcosmos, is an homage to the Greeks who first brought vines to Marseille.
Fabienne was born in Burgundy and holds a B.S. in chemistry and a master’s degree in enology. She previously had worked at Clos des Fées in Roussillon, Chateau d’Esclans in the Var region and at Moulin de la Roque in Bandol. These experiences have all contributed to her winemaking choices today. To begin with, because she is from Burgundy, she appreciates single varietal wines and does not blend. Her choice to work with low-yielding parcels of old vines comes from working at Clos de Fées. Her time at Chateau d’Esclans taught her how to make luxury rosés.
Working with different vineyards, Fabienne purchases fruit from vineyards in Provence, prioritizing organically farmed grapes. To keep transportation at a minimum, they stay within 100 kilometers around Marseille. She looks for special parcels and old vines and all the fruit is picked by hand. At Microcosmos, they use a single parcel for each wine and do not do any blending. Once the grapes are manually picked, they are transported back to the winery in Marseille where additional sorting and fermentation take place. With delicate treatment of the grapes, minimal input is required by the winemaker. The focus is on making wines that are balanced but express their individual personalities. Total annual production: 5,000 bottles.
"Tempete dans les Montagnes Bleues" (Syrah)
"Expedition Botanique" (Mouvèdre)
Le Domaine des Frontières was founded in 2013 by Jeremy Thien who left a career of 15 years as chief of staff for members of parliament and ministers. Making wine was an old dream of his, so he decided to come back to his native Beaujolais and learn how to grow the vines and to make the wine. His estate consists of 6.5 hectares (16 acres), where he produces wines of terroir from parcels of old vines.
The Juliénas AOP: Though they were not formally grouped under the AOP label until 1938, the vineyards of Juliénas were known even to the Romans, who were so enamored the wines grown there that they named the area’s eponymous hub and a smaller satellite, Jullié, after Julius Caesar himself. Today, the region covers 600 hectares (1,483 acres) of vineyards spread over four primary villages: the main town, Juliénas, situated on a moderate rise just to the west of the Saone River, and Jullié, Emeringes and Pruzilly, which lie a bit further up the slopes to the west of Juliénas itself. Some 120 growers produce within the boundaries of the cru. The most defining aspect of Juliénas from a terroir perspective is the shift from the igneous-dominant slopes to the west of the zone, peppered with blue granite and diorite, to the flatter areas around the town of Juliénas itself, where the soils transition through to schist and alluvium with pockets of sand and clay.
Maury, Côtes Catalanes
The Domaine des Enfants was founded in 2006 as a realization of a childhood dream by Swiss born Marcel Bühler and soon after joined in 2010 by Native Oregonian Carrie Sumner. Their winery is about much more than just making wine. Besides being a philosophy, it is taking a step back into the past; regress as progress. It consists of 25 hectares (62 acres) mainly old vineyards of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Lladoner Pelut on different soils (schist, granite, gneiss and limestone) and heights situated in the greater area around the small village of Maury. They manage the vineyards in a sustainable manner and with respect to the environment. The abandonment of herbicides from the beginning in 2006 brought the consequence that all the vineyards with old vines (60 to over 100 years) need to be ploughed by their own horses. Since 2010 Domaine des Enfants is certified organic by Ecocert.
In the cellar Carrie and Marcel try to preserve the characteristics of the different terroirs and the finesse and aroma of each variety by intervening as little as possible with the natural processes. The objective is to make wines, which convince through their balance, elegance, complexity, texture and length. Already with their first vintage in 2007 they came close to fulfilling this ambition. All their wines are fermented with natural yeast and vinified without any flavor changing additions (enzymes, chips etc.).
Le Jouet Blanc (100% Macabeu)
'Tabula Rasa' Blanc (Grenache gris, Grenache blanc, Carignan blanc)
Le Jouet Rouge (Lladoner Pelut, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan)
'L'Enfant Perdu' Rouge (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan)
'Suis l'etoile' (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan)
'La Larme de l'âme' (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan)
AOC Maury (100% Grenache, port-style wine)
Corbières Maritime, Roussillon
Les Clos Perdus started in 2003 with 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of vines in the Corbières Maritime. The Briton Hugo Stewart and the Australian Paul Old have rediscovered forgotten, almost lost vineyards in the Corbières area. This led to the naming "Les Clos Perdus". These are the smallest parcels in which old, gnarled vines grow, with very low yields.
They hoped that if we encouraged the roots of the vines to dig deep, and improved the diversity of life within the soil, they would begin to see in the wines an expression of terroir that would tell them how to proceed. In the following year they acquired more small parcels in the High Corbières hills and on the schistose slopes of the Agly Valley.
Gradually, the lunar like landscape where the vines had been growing slowly transformed into one of greater color and life. Each year has brought a return of more plants and insects while the structure of the soil has been greatly enriched, suggesting an increase in vitality is also happening below the soil. Over time the vines are starting to find a balance within the diversity of their new world.
Now in their 18th year they have 20 hectares (49.5 acres) of organic and bio–dynamic vines. They have established three unique terroirs, each represented by an individual wine: Mire La Mer from The Corbières Maritimes, Prioundo from the High Corbières and L’Extrême from the Agly Valley in the Roussillon.
Over time the wines have become better balanced and, although less fruit driven, seem to carry a greater complexity and a stronger expression of their terroir. Organically and biodynamically farmed since 2006, Ecocert certification since 2008. Demeter certification since 2014. Annual production: about 36,000-40,000 bottles
L'Extreme Blanc (Grenache Gris blend)
Cuvee 161 (Carignan blend)
Corbières Prioundo (Grenache Noir blend)
Mire la Mar (Mouvèdre blend)
Project 108 (Mourvèdre, Carignan)