LAROQUE DES ALBÈRES - ROUSSILLON
Michaël’s domaine is situated in Laroque des Albères in the “blue mountains of piedmont” as the slopes around Banyuls and Port Vendres are called.
Michaël is originally from Chinon and at the age of 15 started to work with a nearby winemaker and quickly grew an interest in biodynamic agriculture. He decided to increase his knowledge and travelled around France learning from people who were using Steiner’s methods, and in 2009 decided to settle in Pyrénées-Orientales to help the conversion of a 65 hectare Domaine in Montesquieu des Albères .
He really struggled to find his own vineyards but by chance discovered the family run domaine of Mas Rancoure in Laroque des Albères. The wine maker tragically died in the mid 90s and since then time had stopped in the winery. All the domaine’s young vineyards had been pulled up; only a few parcels of older vines remained. In 2012 Michaël took control of the vines and the winery.
The vineyard is one parcel of 4.5ha on 2/3 terrasses; 3.5ha are 100 year old Carignan (post-phylloxera) but unfortunately many of vines are missing as rows have been pulled up in the past to facilitate mechanisation. On the top terrace is the Macabeu (some are 40 y.o.), Grenache Gris, Blanc & Noir (all about 90 y.o.). The soil is mainly clay and sand with some mica, quartz and gneiss.
Michaël has a couple of horses to work in his vineyard (Goliath & Paco). He also has beehives all around the vines and he believes “bees are companions to the vines”. He uses the tractor 4 times a year and mainly to treat the vines or while harvesting to transport the fruits.
The rosé is made using the saignée method where the juice is bled off from a tank of, in this case, the amazingly old vine Carignan (130 years old) and forty year old vines of Grenache before it has undergone full maceration in the tank, to create a light, textural, refined, delicious rosé that has been aged in 400 litre oak barrels for 10 months. This wine is sealed with a crown seal.