At its high elevation, the appellation of Limoux has its own unique microclimate in the world of Languedoc wine. Here, Domaine les Hautes Terres is committed to organic farming and making low-intervention wines; both zero dosage crémant and méthode ancestrale, as well as exciting still wines.
"You mustn’t stress. Every year you’ll think, ‘oh no, what have I done!?’ but you just have to wait. Wine will sort itself out with time."
People: Geneviève & Gilles Azam
Place: Limoux, Languedoc, France
Varieties: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Carignan and Cinsault
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? They began to toy with the notion of a solera (a perpetual blend of previous vintages, e.g. in Champagne and Sherry) in 2019, and will now add a portion of 2020, and so on, with the vision of creating a Limoux with added layers of complexity.
“Working with the plant preparations are interesting. We aren’t doing it to say we’re biodynamic, but rather to see for ourselves what they can do for the vines.”
They sow a cover crop composed of plants such as clover and vetch, depending on the soil type, to help prevent erosion and to make some mechanisation possible. They’re also keen to work more with the notion of agroforestry, planting fruit trees in the vineyards to bring diversity to the overall ecosystem. They’ve also been experimenting with various plant-based sprays for their vines, such as local organic orange oil, horsetail and valerian.
Due to Limoux appellation laws, their Méthode Ancestrale must be labelled as such, they’re not allowed to use pét-nat, even though they make it in the same manner. Due to stricter rules, they cannot bottle their Méthode Ancestrale before December. This makes life difficult, as the harvest is getting earlier and earlier due to global warming, which means fermentation and the whole process is bumped forward a notch. For bottling purposes, when making ancestrale, the wine still needs to be actively fermenting, and the acid and sugar levels have to be right. This means they have to keep the fermentation extremely cool.