The vineyard is 20 acres of beautiful hillsides just outside the village of Douzens. It is made up of a patchwork of small plots we selected from the family’s vineyards when Didier’s father retired. We knew that we would be spending many of our waking hours taking care of the vines so we chose plots we would look forward to seeing in the morning.
We chose to farm our vineyards organically because it allows us to produce quality grapes while working in harmony with our convictions about protecting the natural environment.
It’s also the only kind of farming we’ve ever done. Our approach to growing grapes and making wine is hands-on and small-scale which favors manual work in the vineyards, the use of natural products, and common sense. Since we started converting the vineyards to organic farming we have seen birds and insects return and the soils slowly come back to life. We can also harvest delicious wild arugula and other lettuces in the vineyards, which in itself is reason enough for me to go organic.
The oldest vineyard in the village! Planted at the end of the 19th century, it miraculously escaped phylloxera and the uprooting of old vines that has plagued the Languedoc; this tiny one-acre plot is a conservatory of rare and disappearing varieties. A local vine scientist has identified the following 13 varieties: Carignan noir, Grenache noir, Cinsault noir, Mourrastel Boucher noir, Rivairenc noir, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Mourvèdre noir, Terret noir, Terret gris, Terret blanc, Olivette blanche, Chasselas doré, Valencin rose and two mysterious varieties are still unidentified.
For all of our red wines. Somehow at the end of the day the grapes are harvested, sorted, and put into vats even though between a copious breakfast in the vineyard and a big barbecue at lunch I feel like all we do is eat!! I’m told that this is tradition and I would never want to get in the way of that…
Making wine is something we have come to gradually by tasting lots of wine and asking lots of questions. We approach making wine as a natural process, but one in which man is an integral part. Once the grapes reach the vats we adapt our approach to fit each variety, vintage and the evolution of each wine.
Winery on the Hill
When the grapes reach the winery we follow their lead, not trying to make the same exact wine every year, but to make that year’s fruitiest Cocolico, or spiciest Oiseau blend. We bottle all of our wines when we taste that they are ready then age them in bottles several years. That means we do the difficult work of laying the wine away for you and only release our wines when they are ready to drink.
Our bottles are aged within the stone walls of what was once the village inn’s coach house. This beautiful stone building has been in Didier’s family for generations and has witnessed Grandpa Marty’s production of inventive house cocktails as well as Mamie Jeanne’s chicken and rabbit raising enterprise. One particularly harsh winter in the 1950’s the bumper cars for the annual village festival were set up complete with lights and sound in what is now a peaceful barn.