Frédéric Albaret is a professional grass grower. This winemaker, based in Cabrerolles in the AOC Faugères, has decided to let the wild plants and grasses in and around his vineyards grow again. Together with five other winegrowers in the region, he has been testing this farming method for several years, accompanied by experts from the Ministry of Agriculture.
“In winter there are no problems, but in dry summers, the wild plants sometimes compete with the vines for water,” admits the winemaker who regularly goes with the mower through the vineyards. But the effort is worth it.
“Plowing and weed killers destroy the soil structure. The soils are doing well today and above all they are much more alive, full of worms and bacteria. “And that also benefits the wine quality.
“Our wines have become more complex, with much more character.”
Frédéric Albaret not only avoids glyphosate, but does not even touch a single chemical spray anymore. He’s very pleased to be able to drive again “through the vineyards with the windows open”. A decision that requires a lot of dedication and observation.
“If you renounce to pesticides, you must not even let plant diseases settle in the vineyard, since you have no way to intervene afterwards.” Today, he regularly sprays with copper and sulfur. The organic winegrower admits that yields went down at the beginning of the changeover. But today the Domaine Saint Antonin produces 100,000 bottles of wine on 30 hectares of vineyards.
“When we switched to organic farming in 2005 because we felt we could do better without poisoning ourselves and the environment, we were a little bit smiled at. Today we no longer are an exception. 90% of the wineries in our community are organic! “
Article from “La Gazette” – June 2018
Les Jardins Rosé 2017
Its pale, pale pink salmon color demands sunshine! In the nose and on the palate, you will encounter summertime flavors, reminiscent of white peach with a few splashes of lemon juice, refreshing and light. A real terrace wine, which will bring you a lot of drinking pleasure at the end of the day, accompanied by honeydew melon and raw ham.
Les Jardins Red 2017
Purple and luminous in the glass, this cuvee shows the same aromatic exuberance as in previous vintages: a whole basket of black fruits, currants, elderberries and fresh plums. The juicy taste of the fruit is reflected on the palate, together with some cinnamon and light, crisp tannins that subtly extend the taste. Fried pork chop with herbs, grilled vegetables, ripe hard cheese … An excellent table companion until autumn.
Ripe fruit in the nose – raspberry, blackberry, cherry – with the slightly wilder scent of black pepper and forest soil, as well as sweet nougat flavors. Soft and full-bodied on the palate, supported by straightforward and precise acidity and strong, but fine tannins. The abundance and the concentration of the wine express for us the great potential of this vintage. Enjoy it from next autumn with lamb or spicy fried mushrooms.
What an amazing year, this still young born vintage 2018, which presents itself so differently from its predecessor. The winter was mild and rainy, except for an extremely cold period in February, which ourselfs and the vines will certainly remember for some time.
While bud burst occurred very early last year, the vines have returned to their “normal” rhythm this spring: Vegetation woke up by the end of March and it so far benefits from the good water reserves in the soil. The latter will certainly protect the plants from drought stress well until July or even August. If the abundant groundwater and the warming sunshine could impel the vines to a fast, almost explosive growth, it has so far been rather moderate due to the natural ground cover and the still quite low soil temperatures.
We have been observing this growth behavior of the vines for several years. More specifically, since we switched to organic farming for about a decade ago. Plants have gained strength and independence and are less vulnerable and less affected by changeable weather. It seems that they had found their own rhythm, a rhythm that we have to respect and want to respect by the way.
The wines show a similar development and we adapt our working methods to their needs: hand picking at optimum maturity, depending on grape variety and location, long maceration with gentle extraction, slow ageing of the wines on fine lees in wood or in concrete tanks.
But the most amazing “tools” of winemaking that we’ve rediscovered in recent years are patience, restraint and, of course, time. There is no reason to impose an imaginary character to the wines by technique and intervention, because it has already been created by the vines and the vintage. Our job is simply to accompany them, to pick the ripe fruits and to patient with a wineglass in hand. The wines will tell us when they are ready …
For this reason, the Cuvee “Magnoux” 2016 will certainly rest in the cellar until the end of the year. “Les Jardins”, rosé une red, as well as “Cazalet” vintage 2017 were bottled last month and are at your disposal.
We wish you a nice spring,
Fabienne and Frédéric Albaret
After several years of ageing in our fresh and dark cellars, we recently tasted a few bottles of Magnoux 2012. The wine is now ready for drinking, expressing all the power and finesse of this great vintage in Faugères.
On the nose it offers an intense bouquet of fresh forest floor, cherries, plums and cocoa, while fresh acidity and silky tanins dominate on the soft, medium-bodied palate. A long, tasty, slightly salty finish, supported by fruit flavours, almonds and chocolate, with a touch of leather. Enjoy it now, with veal roast in herb crust, game birds or spicy roasted vegetables … Or let it mature in the cellar for another five to seven years under good conditions (temperature and humidity).
We will be at the MILLÉSIME BIO wine fair in Montpellier from January 29th till 31st. We are looking forward to you visit! You will find us in HALL A4 – STAND 631
Beautiful, dark purple color. The nose is dominated by licorice flavors and bursting with freshness. Rosemary and blackberries join quickly in and tempt you to taste. Freshness also prevails on the palate and gives the wine a juicy taste, accompanied by mint and smoke aromas, as well as some blueberries and rose petals. Great complexity and above all a great desire to pour another glass. An ideal companion for roast lamb kidneys.