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N°157

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Cru Boutenac in Languedoc, concentrated passion

29/06/2017

In last March the AOC Corbières-Boutenac trade union welcomed the journalists for a comprehensive presentation of the identity peculiarities and the wines of the appellation. The new president of the union, David Latham, led them at the heart of the exceptional cru at the top of the Languedoc wine hierarchy.

Les galets roulés, typiques de Boutenac.

The AOC Corbières has been recognized in 1985. It soon appeared that the Boutenac wines had a peculiar quality that set it apart from the other wines of the appellation. Thirty wine growers thus decided to gather within the Association for the Defense of the terroir of Boutenac. They needed 10 years to get the official recognition of the AOC Corbières-Boutenac in 2005. The association became the AOC Corbières-Boutenac trade union that comprises 28 wine growers including 3 cooperatives.

In 2016, the appellation covers 1,429 hectares of vines out of which 210 under production. It surrounds the Mountain of Pinada that embodies all the features of the characters of Boutenac: the strength of the limestone, the sun and the wind; and the softness of the nearby hills, the sea breezes, the scents of scrubland and pine trees.
 

Pierre Bories, Ollieux Romanis

The soul of Boutenac, Carignan …

Boutenac takes advantage of the Mediterranean climate. The vineyard is cooled down by the Cers, a northwest wind, and the sea breeze. The poor and well-drained soils as well as low rainfall oblige the vine stocks to draw their resources from deep in the ground. The pebbles that cover the surface enable to temper the vineyard in the day thanks to the warmth of the day and the freshness of the night that they store.

Carignan feels well in such difficult conditions, and represents the backbone of the wines of the appellation. It provides structure, classy balance, aromas of spices and black fruits. The specifications require a minimum of 30% of the planted varieties. The other authorized varieties are Grenache for the intensity, Shiraz for the finesse and suppleness, and Mourvèdre for its tannic potential and its ageing capacity.

The Boutenac wines develop scents of spices and ripe fruits and on the palate beautiful notes of mocha and spices. Generous, full-bodied, these beautiful southern wines are harmonious and elegant though.
 

Richard Planas, directeur technique des domaines Gérard Bertrand.

… but also the wine growers

What gives extra soul to the Boutenac wines is of course the wine growers’ signature and passion. On the one hand they decided to set themselves very strict standards to guarantee  the very high quality of their wines: no irrigation, maximum yield of 45 hl, hand picking of the Carignan, ageing within the area of the appellation more than one year with at least 2 months in bottles.

These strong requirements for the wines are the result of the great passion of the wine growers of Boutenac for their terroir. We met a group of women and men with a real sense of Mediterranean hospitality, a real collective spirit. Because, despite a sometimes strong character, they all keep in mind the need to protect and promote the cru together.

Elisabeth Avenet / Sylvia van der Velden

 

The leaders of the appellation

A degustation is organized every year by the union with a jury of professionals to select the ambassador wines of Cru Boutenac. Among the 2017 session:

Domaine de Villemajou, La Forge 2014

Gérard Bertrand’s success story started at Domaine Villemajou, at the heart of Boutenac. Former rugby player Gérard Bertrand has kept a winning spirit and uses all his energy in promoting Languedoc. He also uses his name to set Cru Boutenac in the spotlights.

Château Ollieux Romanis, Or 2014

Pierre Bories has been the president of the union until 2017 after a 8-year term. Oldest son of the family at the head of the domain, he couldn’t resist the call of the vines. He went back to the lands where he grew up to take over the reins. At the heart of all the viticultural decisions, in turn he defends the Carignan and commits himself in a sound and eco-friendly wine growing.

Château Saint-Estève, Astréos 2013

Since 1984 the Latham family strives to produces prestige wines at the heart of the Corbières area. Sylvie, Eric and David Latham manage the 130-hectare estate partly on the terroir of Boutenac, cream of the finest wines of Corbières. David Latham has recently been elected president of the trade union succeeding Pierre Bories.

 

The team’s favourite :
Château Aiguilloux,
cuvée Anne Georges

Wine grower Marthe Lemarié nurtures a passion for Carignan. She picks all by hand and vinifies entire bunches. This cuvee of Boutenac is called after her children. This wine stems from old vines of Carignan of 65 years old (50%) and 25-year-old Shiraz (50%). An intense fruitiness gives way to notes of cocoa, woodiness but also fresh figs. A broad, full-bodied but elegant wine.