Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified Organic and Biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are still made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family make a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.
Maison CAZES is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. There is also more freshness and minerality in the wines. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.
Harvest was delayed by up to three weeks due to a late flowering accompanied by cold and wet weather. An Indian summer lasted through to the end of October and provided vital assistance to the final ripening stage given the warm days, cool nights and dry northerly winds. The wines have ripe fruit and bright, lively acidity.
The three varietals were totally de-stemmed and de-stalked before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.
The nose reveals great aromas of ripe black and red fruits. On the palate, these melt with leather and liquorice notes, and soft, velvety tannins. This is a round and rich wine with wonderful balance as well as a pleasantly refreshing acidity. Long finish with hints of black pepper.