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 made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes 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.
Situated between the French Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, the Roussillon is the sunniest area of France, giving very ripe grapes, which are perfect for the production of the Vin Doux Naturel sweet wines. These are a speciality of the Rivesaltes area. The wine was made from the native Grenache Blanc variety, from vineyards on clay and limestone soils, covered by large wide pebbles that radiate the heat back onto the vines at night-time (these are the Galets Roulés that are famous in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape area to the north).
The white grapes were pressed before the fermentation started at 18°C. The wine was fortified using natural grape spirit, which caused the fermentation to stop and left a sweet wine with 16% alcohol, which is relatively light in alcohol for a fortified wine. The wine was then aged for seven years in old, large oak barrels. Over time, the wine gently oxidised, leading to a darker, amber colour (hence the name 'Ambré') as well as a richer, smooth palate and huge depth of flavour.
Deep amber in colour, with aromas strongly reminiscent of dried fruit and candied citrus fruit peel, it is delicious with desserts based on nuts, almonds or caramel.