Sommelier note: The energetic and highly capable Cathy Izarn runs the 18 ha.(45 acres) of vines of Domaine la Vitarèle with great passion. All the vines are fully BIO/Organic and have been since 1998. The terroir consists of white limestone soils, schiste and gravel/clay. She says: ‘Our soils are alive, our vines look happy and my wines have character’.
You can find many local, Mediterranean varietals planted here like Bourboulenc, Vermentino and Clairette for white and Syrah, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Mourvèdre for red. The combination of beautiful fruit with modern vinification without much intervention produces honest, fruitful and elegant wines with character. The name “Schiste” comes from the soil type you find here, especially on the higher altitude vineyards, which is slate. This light and crumbly rock is well sought after by winemakers as it delivers rich flavors and freshness to wines. The vines have to develop deep roots to find water, much needed here in the hot wine area of Languedoc!
The vineyards for this wine are all planted on 300-400m. (1,000-1,300 feet) altitude on the north-east slopes and hillsides. Only the morning sun touches the grapes, so slow and long ripening on the vines. Good wine starts with time on the vine! The blend varies every year but Grenache Noir is always a majority in the blend. Soft and round this gives the backbone to this wine, the Syrah spices like pepper and cloves, the Carignan a nice leather tone and smoky-ness. Drink this wine now (put the barbeque on and grill a fresh Côte de Boeuf) or keep the wine in your cellar 5 years (if you can!) and you will be amazed how well this wine matures.