The vineyards and their terroir are the essence of our wines. This is where everything starts and where we focus our efforts throughout the year. You can’t make great wine without great grapes.
The viticulture is essentially done by hand. Five people work full-time in the vineyards. They are supplemented by seasonal employees who work during bunch thinning and the harvest in order to bring out the very best in our vines. Working by hand and the attention each vine gets are fundamental. Pruning, de-budding, trellising, leaf removal and picking are thus carried out by hand with the utmost care.
We prepare the soil by using good old-fashioned ploughing. Organic compost is made from grape marc (the discarded stalks and skins).
We use and abide by countrywide standards for ‘sustainable agriculture’.
As a way of protecting the plants, we only use phytosanitary products when necessary and within strict guidelines by staggering the treatments appropriately, to minimise the amount of chemicals used. We prefer to use as much as possible manual and organic techniques. Leaving natural grass cover, removing buds and leaves from the vines, preserving biodiversity around the vineyard: olive, almond and cypress trees, wild rosemary and capers.
A few facts & figures
Red: 8 hectares (19 acres). Grenache 60%, Syrah 25%, Cinsault 5%, Mourvèdre 5%, Marsanne 3%, Grenache Blanc 2 %
White: 17 hectares (43 acres). White Muscat à petits grains 75%, black Muscat à petits grains 25%
In the spirit of respecting traditional techniques and the best elements of modern technology, cellar manager Andrew Hall and his winemaker son Romain Hall take family traditions very seriously.
When making our wines, the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise plays a central role and requires great care. After picking the grapes by hand, we press them straightaway to ferment the juice without skins. We don’t add any yeasts and keep the alcoholic fermentation in check by temperature control. Vin Doux Naturel winemaking involves stopping fermentation to preserve the grapes’ natural sweetness. During vinification, we watch the vats day and night and add the fortifying spirit just at the right moment. At this stage, the wine’s final balance is at stake. The wine is then aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months before bottling.
We make two red wines at the estate. Terroir wines shaped by the two classic Côtes du Rhône varieties: Grenache and Syrah. We don’t follow any winemaking recipe but are constantly searching for the perfect expression of terroir and each vintage’s particular characteristics. We don’t go for overripe grapes and over-extraction, as we think the wine has to stay refreshing and balanced.
Leaving the wine for 15 days in concrete vats, we try to gently extract the tannins and anthocyanins essential for the wine’s structure and colour. The wine doesn’t come into any contact with wood during ageing. This way the characteristics of our terroir can fully express themselves.
Our Rosé wine is made for pure enjoyment, 80% red and grey Grenache and 20% Cinsault. We choose which plots and sort the grapes specifically to make rosé. After a 12 to 24 hour maceration depending on the vintage, we press the grapes and handle the must in such a way to bring out fruit and freshness in the wine.
Our Doré des Bernardins is a dry white wine that we only produce in years when the Muscat à petits grains crop is large enough. We pick the grapes at the same ripeness level as for the Vin Doux Naturel. In contrast to Muscat de Beaumes, the fermentation isn’t stopped, giving a fruity dry wine with intense Muscat aromas.
AOC Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
History: in 1945 the official ruling came into place, with retroactive effect from 1st September 1943, launching A.O.C. Vin Doux Naturel Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
Vineyards : on the hillsides around Beaumes de Venise, on the Dentelles de Montmirail’s south-facing slopes.
Soils: are composed of sandy marl to the south and clay-limestone to the north.
Climate: Mediterranean, hot and dry sheltered from the wind by the Dentelles massif.
Variety: Muscat à petits grains, white and black.
Grapes should have natural sugar ripeness of at least 252 g/l.
Fortified during fermentation with pure wine alcohol 95% proof minimum.
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise must contain minimum 110g/l residual sugar and have a minimum alcohol content of 15%.
AOC Beaumes de Venise
Vineyards: spread across the south-east slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail (between 100 and 600m altitude, about 300-1800 feet), around the villages of Beaumes de Venise, Lafare, Suzette and La Roque Alric in the Vaucluse département.
Soils: are made up of Oxonian marl, from the upper Cretaceous and Triassic periods found only in the Côtes du Rhône.
Climate: hot Mediterranean, sheltered from the wind by the Dentelles de Montmirail massif.
Latest: the Appellation has been known for its vin doux naturel, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, since 1943. In 2005 A.O.C Beaumes de Venise was launched, a Cru zone for its red wines.
Varieties : red Grenache 50% minimum, Syrah 25%, Mourvèdre and other permitted varieties 20% maximum, 10% white grapes.
Minimum alcoholic strength: 12.5%