Exploring the wines of Carcassonne

PUBLISHED: 09:36 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 03 October 2017

Carcassonne Old Town.

Carcassonne Old Town.

Archant

Carcassonne in the sunshine, a picturesque city surrounded by vineyards, many of which now make excellent wines despite being one of the main culprits of the EEC’s (as it was then) Wine Lake.

I was lucky to visit this lovely city in July when I spent time with wine producers Calmel & Joseph who are negociants or wine brokers working in the Languedoc Roussillon region in which Carcassonne is located.

This company was formed in 2007 when oenologist or winemaker Laurent Calmel joined Jerome Joseph who had been exporting wines from this region around the world.

Unlike many negociants who buy finished wines Calmel & Joseph are involved in the vineyards whose grapes they buy and also in the winemaking of the wines they sell. The vineyards they work with are organic and sustainably farmed and try to let the wines evolve and be a true expression of the quality and flavours of the fruit used.

Their varietal wines, our easy drinking wines, come exclusively from private wineries to ensure natural vinification and varietal character especially form little known grapes such as Marselan as well as the better known Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their wines have a harmonious balance of fruit and freshness that will enable the wine to develop in an exciting way.

Their top quality appellation wines come from diverse areas between the Cévennes and the Camargue, from the Pyrenees foothills to the border of the Spanish coast Considered to be the biggest wine region in the world, the Languedoc Roussillon is where one finds the greatest variety of soils.

These wines include wines from areas such as Faugeres, Minervois etc.

Wines such as the Calmel & Joseph La Ruffe the Terrasses de Larzac, are stunning and have great ageing potential but drinking well once released.

A Syrah Carignan blend named after the ‘ruffes’ clay limestone blood red soils of the Terrasses du Larzac, it is packed with pure fruit and subtle notes of liquorice, menthol, herbs and chocolate. Really complex with elegant tannins on the long finish.

The Caramany with its green pepper, herbs and brambly notes and the Montpeyroux with its vibrant aroma of deep berry fruits and truffle with a spicy rich palate with delicate tannins are also delicious examples of their wine making skills using the true potential of the lovely fruit available to them in the vineyards they have selected to work with in this region.

They are also masters of winemaking for white wines too with a lovely textured yet fresh Sauvginon Blanc and a rich yet elegant Chardonnay and a Marsanne, Roussanne and Terret Gris blend.

In addition to tasting the full Calmel & Joseph range I was taken on a tour of the vineyards to take in the spectacular landscape on my first ever experience of a segway on the steep hills through vineyards, lavender fields, olive groves and amongst the bee hives of their sustainably farmed land.

A full reflection of how seriously they view their approach to quality natural winemaking.

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