Domaine des 2 Ânes | Biodynamic estate winery in Peyriac de Mer in the Corbières AOC region of France’s Languedoc.
Owner | SCEA Roux Terrier. Dominique Terrier (son of Michel Terrier in the Jura, which see) and Magali Roux (from a wine-growing family, son of Jura organic pioneer Michel Terrier). They worked vines in various regions of France (Jura, Mâconnais, Beaujolais) before settling in Peyriac de Mer in Languedoc region from January 1, 2000.
Vineyards | 2008 22ha. 2013: 60ha of land of which 22ha of vines surrounded by garrigue and pine forests. 10km south-west of Narbonne, so near the sea. Altitude of 60 metres with view to the Mediterranean.
There are 2.5ha of white grapes, ten varieties in all, not all of which are allowed in Corbières Blanc: Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris (not allowed for Corbières for example), Maccabeu, Bourboulenc, Terret Gris, Terret Blanc, Clairette Blanc, Clairette Gris, and Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains. There are 19.5ha of red grapes: 55% are either Syrah (wire trained), Grenache Noir (gobelet), Mourvèdre (gobelet) or Cinsault. The rest (45%) comprises Carignan all on gobelet.
Carignan is the traditional local Languedoc grape. It represents half of the estate. It has a reputation for austere wines, but on low-yielding hill sites picked ripe it loses its austerity and gains in finesse. Grenache Noir, also traditional, has more obvious fruit, especially when picked fully ripe. Mourvèdre ripens late and seems to like the sea air. It provides richness, black fruit and spice notes. Syrah, more recently introduced in Languedoc, provides floral and red fruit notes.
Soil | Clay-limestone. The soils are deep, structured, and very stony. They allow the vine to resist drought well. They are made up of soft Mediterranean red rocks with numerous limestone scree.
Rootstocks | All on 110 Richter with ‘greffage sur place’ which entails first planting the rootstock, then two years later grafting onto it the Vitis vinifera scion.
Climate | A very, very windy area, Dominique says, with the tramontana, a powerful northern wind blowing regularly.
Organic viticulture | Limited ploughing to avoid soil compaction. Aim for a spontaneous sward mid-row. Plant-based sprays are used to make the vines naturally more resistant. Lithotham is used in combination with sulfur sprays to counter powdery mildew (oidium), which is the main disease threat in the area.
Biodynamics | A flowform (resin) is used for stirring/dynamising. Magali told me by ‘phone on Sat 6 Dec 2014 they spray Horn manure 500 in spring and 500P in autumn. Horn silica 501 is sprayed once or twice a year depending on the year. Biodynamic compost 502-507 is made from the manure of the estate’s own sheep.
Certification | 2002 Started conversion to organic status in May 2002. 2005 First vintage with full organic certification. | 2010 Demeter certified Biodynamic for the first time.
Winemaking | Hand picked. Fermentation in stainless steel. Grapes are de-stemmed but left uncrushed. Different grape varieties in mixed vineyards are co-fermented.
Wine labels | The owners love donkeys and all the cuvée names relate in some way to donkeys.
Les Deux Ânes Gris | Made from Grenache Gris. Old vines, almost horizontal because of the wind. The original parcel was complanted with a few Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Muscat vines.
Corbières Blanc AOC | Made from ten varieties.
Limod-ânes Vin de Table Pétillant natural rosé | 2011 Lightly sparkling. 100% Carignan.
Corbières Rosé AOC | 2009 Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Carignan.
Corbières Rouge AOC, Les Cabrioles | 2008 Mourvèdre vinified in a tronconic wooden vat to avoid harsh tannins. Fermented 5 weeks at low temperature (23-24 °C) with cooling coils. | 2009 80% Mourvèdre, 20% Carignan.
Corbières Rouge AOC, Fontanilles | 2009 Mainly Carignan Noir with a bit of Grenache Noir and Syrah.
Corbières Rouge AOC, Premiers Pas | The name means ‘first steps’. | 2007 Carignan Noir. Whole-cluster. Short (8-day) carbonic maceration, then pressed. Nice ripe clean style at Millésime Bio 2009. | 2010 Mainly Carignan with a bit of Grenache Noir and Syrah. Nice upfront fruit, clean and cab maccy at Mark and Julie’s Wed 25th April 2012 (bottle bought earlier that day from Roberson for around £14).
Corbières Rouge AOC, L’Enclos | Pink label. Majority of Grenache with some Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre, vineyards on slopes. | 2005 Mainly Grenache. Nice and ripe at Millésime Bio 2009. | 2009 50% Grenache Noir, 50% Mourvèdre, Carignan and Syrah.
Les Aneries | 2006 Vin de Table. 50cl 80% Grenache Gris and 20% Grenache Noir. Late picked. Copper coloured.
Domaine des 2 Ânes
Pech Narbonnais, Route de St Eugènie
F-11440 Peyriac-de-Mer (Aude), France