DOMAINE DE CLOVALLON



Catherine and Alix Roque

IGP Haute Vallée de L’Orb

10 hecatares

 

The Orb River runs for 135 kilometers from the Larzac Causses in Haut-Languedoc down to the Mediterranean Sea. Domaine de Clovallon is situated in the Haute Vallée de L’Orb which refers to a small stretch of the river valley that runs east to west with exposed hillsides and excellent southern exposure. Spanning geological periods from the primary to the quartenary, the Haute Vallée de L’Orb contains virtually every soil type found in France, and many of them are present in Clovallon’s 10 hectares.

 

To be in the company of Catherine Roque and her daughter Alix, is to be in the company of and feel the energy of passionate farmers. Catherine says that seeing the results of her bio-dynamic farming practices has greatly inspired her. In the vineyard, the Roques use fertilizer from their neighbor’s cows along with a mix of valerian and dolomite. In between the rows, the natural grasses are left to grow and Alix is contemplating buying a few sheep to help with the “mowing”. They already employ the help of their chickens. As non-interventionist winemakers, their wines naturally convey their respect for and delight in their land and vineyards.


Pinot Noir

The Clovallon vineyard is located outside of the village of Bedarieux in a small valley protected by some imposing dolomite cliffs. The vineyards are planted up to altitudes of 500 meters. Catherine Roque first planted Pinot Noir here in 1989. She has a few different parcels now, grown on different soils with different aspects. The harvesting is done manually and the wines are bottled without fining or filtering whenever possible.

The “Domaine” Pinot Noir is produced from younger vines on red sandstone soils. Fermentation is done in vat with indigenous yeasts and no heating. The wine is matured for about six months in three year old barrels before bottling. Sulfur is added only at bottling and in a minimal dose.

The Pinot Noir cuvee “Pomarèdes” is a two hectare parcel of 25 year old vines grown on dolomite chalk soils.


Joli Cantel 

The cuvée Joli Cantel is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Roussanne. The grapes are hand harvested and put whole into a stainless steel tank where they are kept for 24-48 hours at a low temperature. Afterwards, the grapes are pressed and the press juice is blended with the free run juice and fermented in three year old barrels. The wine is assembled and bottled the following May. 400 cases are produced.


Les Aurièges

The cuvée Les Aurièges  is a blend of seven grapes. The most important to the blend are Chardonnay, Petit Manseng and Reisling, but also included are Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Petite Arvine, a variety native to the Valais in Switzerland. The grapes are all harvested by hand and put whole into a stainless steel tank where they ferment slowly at a low temperature for 30 days. The grapes are then pressed and the press juice is blended with the free run juice and then put into barrels for a year before bottling.

  

Les Indigènes

The cuvee “Les Indigènes” is produced from a single “clos” of less than a hectare that was planted around two hundred years ago and retains pre-phylloxera vines. As was the custom “back in the day” the vineyard was co-planted with a wide variety of grape types both white and red. Most of the grapes have been identified and include Carignan, Cinsault, Clairette, Grenache, Grenache Blanc. Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Malvasia, Muscat a Petits Grains, Ugni Blanc, Aramon, Terret, and Jacquet. The clos itself  sits high above the town of Bedarieux and is accessible only by a narrow lane that winds its way up from the town to the vineyard at the top of the hill. It is hidden from the eye because it is both walled and shielded by fruit trees.

To gain entrance to the small vineyard one has to pass through an entrance gate and then a bit further on pass through a doorway framed by a stone arch giving the whole experience a “secret garden” quality.

All varieties are co-fermented in old oak foudres using indigenous yeasts and without temperature control.

The wine is unfiltered and unfined. 

 

 

 

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