The Vallée du Paradis is located in the garrigue of the wine-growing heart of the Corbières Massif. The vineyards are comprised primarily of small plots on sloped land and feature limestone and clay terroir. The main river, La Berre, runs through the vineyard, winding between the limestone and schist plateaus.
Settled in ancient times, the Valley of Paradise is a remote region, far from major highways, and a “natural jewel” which is why it has its own appellation. The name comes from the blue alfalfa flowers carpeting the valley as well as the region’s history as a refuge from various plagues over the ages.
Four villages are part of the 12 communes of Aude, producing the IGP Vallée du Paradis appellation. The maximum yield authorized by the IGP Vallée du Paradis appellation is 80HL/Ha making it a low yield, quality IGP. Les Maitres Vignerons de Cascastel is the main producer of this IGP. Total production is about 7,500 hectoliters per year, of which Les Maitres produces 4,000 hectoliters.
The grapes are destemmed prior to vinification. The three grape varieties, Merlot, Syrah, and Grenache Noir, are vinified in traditional fermentation. Remontage (pumping over) is used during fermentation.
The grapes remain in concrete vats for 30 days for the fruit extraction. At the end of the malolactic fermentation, the Merlot is aged for 10 months in fine, 2 year old French oak barrels. The Syrah and Grenache are aged in concrete vats to enhance the richness of the fruit flavors. The three varieties are then blended together, with roughly half of the blend from oak and half from the concrete vats.
The cooperative cellar of Les Maitres Vignerons de Cascastel was founded in 1921. Before this collective initiative, the village of Cascastel was made up exclusively of independent winegrowers. Merging created a powerful synergy of expert winegrowers, wisdom, technology, and shared resources. The foundation of the cooperative is solidarity, fairness, and democracy. As a result, these very small, artisan winegrowers bring out the best in the vines, the wines, and each other. They all benefit from the fine winemaking skills of José Navarro.
Food Pairing Notes
This dry red is brawny enough to handle Texas-style BBQ and grilled meats.
Drink now or keep until 2028.
“Timon Lepidus” refers to an endangered ocellated lizard that snuck into the Cascastel cellar in 2017. The domaine was intrigued and subsequently established a scientific partnership to preserve the lizard, including the renovation of the walls around the vineyards that form Timon Lepidus’s habitat. One euro of the proceeds of sale of each bottle is allocated to this partnership.