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Posted on 13/05/2016 by quentinsadler

Clairette – a surprising white grape from the Languedoc

Whilst in the Languedoc recently I was able to go on lots of study trips of the wine areas and also to attend quite a few masterclasses – in fact I have been thrilled this year to learn that the French, Croat and Slovene words for masterclass are, well, masterclass!

The beautiful Domaine La Croix Chaptal – photo courtesy of the winery.

One of the best of these masterclasses was about a little known white wine called Clairette du Languedoc. The appellation / PDO was created in 1948, making it the oldest white wine PDO in the Languedoc. Only one grape is permitted, the Clairette or Clairette Blanche, which is really only found in the Rhône, Provence and Languedoc regions. It is a low acid, but high alcohol grape, so can make pretty flabby wines if you are not careful with it. It is widely grown in the Southern Rhône, where it is used as a blending grape, including in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The grape lends its name to the sweet sparkling Clairette de Die, despite only 25% of Clairette being allowed in the finished wine, the rest must be Muscat – originally it was 100% Clairette.

In the Languedoc two areas specialise in the grape Clairette de Bellegarde, in the far east of the region near the Rhône, and Clairette du Languedoc, just west of Montpellier. So troublesome was the grape that in the past it was often used as the basis of vermouth rather than being drunk on its own, and further back in history it was a sweet wine – the dry versions were apparently called Picardon and the sweet ones Clairette. Luckily though, as is so often the case, modern know-how has come to its rescue and in the Clairette du Languedoc zone a modest renaissance is underway. The sea is only 20 km away and sighting the vineyards to catch the sea breezes and the refreshing Tramontane wind is very important to retain freshness.

The appellation is the smallest in the Languedoc with just 100 hectares of vineyard and 18 producers, 7 of which are cooperatives, but it produces four styles of wine all from the single grape. Fresh, dry whites are made, as well as sweet versions, long wood aged rank wines and fortified Vins Doux Naturels. I tasted examples of all of these and truthfully found the sweet versions to be a bit light and lacking, which is a shame as there is more sweet wine made here than dry. The drier styles quite excited me though and I brought one back to show in a tasting and it excited everyone there too.

The beautiful Domaine La Croix Chaptal – photo courtesy of the winery.

2014 Domaine La Croix Chaptal Clairette Blanche 
Domaine La Croix Chaptal
AC / AOP Clairette du Languedoc

This delightful estate is owned by Charles-Walter Pacaud who hails from the Cognac region, but fell in love with Languedoc’s Terrasses du Larzac while studying winemaking in Montpellier. He managed to buy this estate which has a recorded history going back to the 10th century, but Gallo-Roman archeological finds in the vineyards suggest the land has been in use for a lot longer than that. Most of what he produces is either Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc or Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac, with just one hectare being Clairette, but they are old vines that give better concentration and they grow on well drained stony and gravelly soil.

Charles-Walter Pacaud tending his vines – photo courtesy of the winery.

The grapes are harvested by hand, as required in the appellation, destined and spend a little time macerating on the skins for flavour and texture development. 30% is aged in new oak on the lees, with the rest aged in stainless steel tank on the lees for 18 months.

The aromas are quite beguiling, very mineral, herbal – especially fennel and vanilla – together with honey, almonds, peach skin and light toast. The palate is more fleshy with some burnt orange and a mouth-filling texture. there is even a very attractive touch of Fino sherry about it, just a point of oxidation that makes it quite delicious. The finish is very long and mineral and the more you come back to this wine the better it gets. A wonderful discovery, try it if you can – 91/100 points.

This would be wonderful with rich fish dishes, shellfish with garlic butter, fish pie, Coquilles Saint Jacques, chicken and all manner of cheeses too.

Sadly this excellent wine is not available in the UK, so contact the winery direct. I cannot find any other examples of the region available here either, so make sure you try it when you are over there.
For US stockists, click here.



Für eine Verkostung sind Sie anlässlich der Prowein herzlich eingeladen!

in Düsseldorf am 13., 14. & 15. März 


You are warmly welcome to come and taste my AOC terroir wines at :

 You will find me
on Booth
11 H 123
Sie finden mich auf
Stand 11

Shared with Domaine des Grandes Costes, Wine Estate in Pic Saint Loup.
geteilt mit Domaine des Grandes Costes, Winzer im Pic Saint Loup.

Neue Etiketten, Neue weine - New labels, New wines
Seltene Rebsorten und Römische Keramik - Rare grape varietals and Roman ceramics
Zu entdecken bei der Prowein im Sud de France Raum - to discover at Prowein on the Sud de France booth

Ich freue mich im Voraus auf Sie !   Looking forward to seeing you there !
Winzerlische Grüße - Best regards,

Charles-Walter PACAUD, Artisan-Vigneron
AOC Terrasses du Larzac, Clairette du Languedoc et Coteaux du Languedoc

NEW !!! Les Sigillées !!! Coteaux du Languedoc

Ceramic fragments found in the vineyard
During the 2005 harvest, how surprising it was to see one of our pickers so thrilled with his find ! He was a student in archeology and had just discovered some finely decorated fragments of red ceramics in a plot of Grenache and a plot of Syrah on our estate. He had immediately recognized that they were “Sigillées” !

Indeed they are “Sigillées”
The « Sigillées » were red Gallo-Roman ceramics characterised by raised designs and intended for table service. Their relatively short production spread out over several decades at the beginning of the Christian era. An important workshop was set up in La Graufesenque (near Millau) in Larzac – Aveyron; the fragments found in our vineyard may have been produced there.

Archeological excavations have unearthed several Gallo-Roman wine-producing villas in the surroundings of Domaine La Croix Chaptal. It is however impossible to determine if on La Croix Chaptal estate, there was any wine-producing activity as we would have to uproot the vines to make sure...

What a fine name for our Coteaux du Languedoc !The discovery of such fragments of Sigillées gave me the idea of naming my range Coteaux du Languedoc after them. It is the only appellation which I produce in the three colours, since Clairette du Languedoc is 100% White Clairette and Terrasses du Larzac are 100% red :

·         « Les Sigillées » Blanc, sharp, elegant and mineral

·         « Les Sigillées » Rouge, fruity and voluptuous

·         « Les Sigillées » Rosé, round and gastronomic

What a fine name for our Coteaux du Languedoc !
The discovery of such fragments of Sigillées gave me the idea of naming my range Coteaux du Languedoc after them. It is the only appellation which I produce in the three colours, since Clairette du Languedoc is 100% White Clairette and Terrasses du Larzac are 100% red :

A new label unveiled at ProWein
The identity of these three cuvées is enhanced by an original label featuring the famous Sigillées which will be unveiled at ProWein 2016.

An ideal opportunity to (re)discover Domaine La Croix Chaptal, both richly endowed with a time-honoured wine–producing tradition and firmly anchored in its own time !


Charles-Walter PACAUD

and also, our Aramon !!! a Rare grappe varietial

An age-old variety almost forgotten
owadays, who still happens to know « Aramon » ? Not many people !
Even though it was grown over more than 150.000 hectares at the end of World War II, there remains only one hundredth of that surface today.

Several signs testify to its age-old setting up in Languedoc, including the numerous names that the inhabitants have had time to give it as well as the village in the Gard area that bears its name. An additional sign is that, on top of Black Aramon, there exist extremely rare variations in pink and white

It has become poorly thought of, however…
It is difficult today to conceive of yields up to 250 hl per ha. This was the usual yield though for Aramon when it grew in plains. This high potential yield ensured its being popular when mass consumption was the order of the day. To such an extent that it has become synonymous with quantity to the detriment of quality. So when the market turned towards quality wines, its glory faded and the vines of Aramon were massively uprooted.

That trend somehow overlooked the fact that on hillsides and with limited yields, Aramon can produce wines that are indeed interesting.

An original cuvée to rediscover Aramon
At domaine La Croix Chaptal, we have kept safe our hillside plot of Aramon which is now 80 years old. Needless to say that the ardour of youth has had time to calm down ! With a yield of around 50 Hl per ha, we obtain a wine which keeps the light side of the variety, i.e slightly coloured and with low tannins, while asserting a sharp, fruity and voluptuous character. It is ideal to rediscover this variety.

In keeping with current concerns
Further advantage : Aramon corresponds to current expectations. As it is naturally light in alcohol, it is an original partner for meals particularly in summer. Moreover, this age-old variety which has become rare keeps watch over biodiversity. As it is well-adapted to the terroir, it is sturdy and little demanding.

Finally, old vines which have been producing grapes for 80 years save the environment the ecological cost of uprooting and planting again.



You are warmly welcome to come and taste my AOC terroir wines at :

Booth A5 B31 - Terrasses du Larzac ( Hall A5, Aisle B, Booth N° 31 )

in Montpellier February 15th, 16th & 17th

Vins du Languedoc: Great Tastes, Fabulous Values

One of the best wine tasting events I’ve been to all year was the one featuring Languedoc AOC wines, where I tasted wines made from grapes that were unfamiliar to me and learned about the fascinating history of this wine region.

Below is a look at just a few of the 31 wines that were poured.  I was impressed with the aroma, taste and food-friendliness of all that I tasted.

The Kitchen - Wine of the Week - Les Terrasses 2009 Terrasses du Larzac

This 2009 red wine "Les Terrasses" from Domaine La Croix Chaptal is a perfect example of the excellent quality wines you can buy for less than $20 per bottle.

The Languedoc is the source of some of the best value, good quality wines. Once regarded as a source of poor quality bulk wine, the Languedoc wine industry has truly been revolutionized.

While I have long been a fan of Languedoc wine, it was really last summer when we spent three weeks in the region that I really grasped the impact of the quality revolution. This red wine is no exception. It is bright and refreshing with crisp acidity. Its crunchy, suede-like tannins frame the bounty of fruity flavors that explodes on the palate: blackberry, cassis, wild raspberry and bramble fruit. The texture is plump and the wine has a generous mouthfeel. But this wine is not just about the fruit; it has a distinct minerality which prevails across the palate and savory, wild herb and juniper notes that add complexity and a long, lingering finish.

At the Table

When tasting this wine, my mind immediately imagined a dish of braised wild boar, something hearty and warming to complement the wild side of the wine. If wild boar is not your thing try beef or lamb, or for the more adventurous readers, why not pair it with Faith's recipe for Braised Goat Shanks with Prune, Shallot and Brandy Reduction. A truly delicious combination!

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine)

Domaine la Croix Chaptal, Les Terrasses Rouge, 2007 is produced on an estate that formerly belonged to Gellone Abbey, founded in 804. Winemaker Charles Pacaud’s red wine combines Grenace and Carignan with a touch of Syrah. The taste is of dark fruits that follow the aroma of cherry and perhaps coffee. It is spicy and fresh, and representative of the Terrasses du Larzac area wines. This growing area is in the western part of the rural district of Saint Andre de Sangonis, about 20 miles northwest of Montpellier, a popular tourist destination due to old abbeys and natural caves. Alcohol is low: 13 percent “because we have an especial terroir which expresses the grapes and so we have flavor at lower alcohol,” according to Pacaud. Price around $20 a bottle. Distributed by or call (415) 331-4906 to find out where to buy it; it’s worth the hunt.

For more information about the Languedoc region, visit

© 2011 Barbara Keck

WineWisdom Sally Easton MW

Languedoc Grands Crus – in the making   Published by Sally on May 10, 2011

 Grands Crus du Languedoc

bulletSpecific, terroir-wines of individual character, representative of their site.
bulletIcon wines that should stand out with the rest of the world.
bulletComprises nine (so far) locations: Corbières Boutenac, Minervois la Livinière, Saint Chinian Roquebrun, Saint Chinian Berlou, white Limoux and posh cuvees of  sparkling Limoux. Plus five locations which are on the verge of independent AC status: Terrasses du Larzac, Grès de Montpellier, Pic Saint Loup, Pézenas, and La Clape.

The new system has yet to be approved by INAO, which is necessary for it all to become proper, but the CIVL hope everything will be in place by the end of this year. At the moment these terms are not on the label, so this is not yet something simple and useful for consumers.

Disappointingly, it seems that very few of these wines are available for retail in the UK.

My top 30 tasting notes, London, April 2011

Domaine La Croix Chaptal, Cuvée Charles 2007, Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac
30% grenache, 40% carignan, 30% syrah
UK importer:  Aldeby Wines
Smoked meats, biltong and barbecued steaks. Big, hulking meatiness, and no less interesting for that. Balanced, and with smoked dark berry fruits there too."

Wine Compass Blog 
This is the blog for Friday, April 15, 2011

 "The Ambassador Tour was comprised of 31 wines selected in a blind tasting by American panellists from over 120 wines submitted. Most of the wines should retail between $15 and $25, although there were a few higher end wines that were priced closer to Grand Cru Bordeaux. And almost all the wines were made from hand picked grapes, grown in small lots, using organic farming practices, and by family estates that span generations.

 The best part of the tasting was listening to the winemakers or their representatives discuss their passion for wines made in the region. The region's history, the AOCs, the grapes, food pairings - all contributed to fabulous discussions.

bulletThe region's popular wine grape, Carignan, has the second largest planting in France. Can you guess the first?
bulletThe traditional method of sparkling wine production, "méthode champenoise", where the bubbles are produced by a second fermentation in the bottles, may have originated in Limoux before it was utilized in Champagne.
bulletThe vines used by the Domaine la Croix Chaptal, a small winery in the Terrasses du Larzac - an AOC, have been tended by Monks for over 12 centuries. The vines were ravished by the Phylloxera epidemic almost 150 years ago; thank God for American rootstock. The present owners restored the original cellar from the Abbey and are now making very good wine - as evident by the Les Terrasses Rouge and Cuvee Charles - each differing blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan.

 Languedoc is located in the south of France adjacent to the Mediterranean sea. Wine has been produced in the region for two and a half millennia - starting with the Greeks, then the Phoenicians and Romans. In fact, the Roman historian Titus Livius was lauding "wines of light" from Limoux two thousand years ago. And sparkling wines from Limoux were the first wines we had tasting from the region. Based on the Mauzac grape, these are some of the best sparklers we have ever tasted. Getting back to Languedoc, the region is divided into many AOCs, with almost a dozen represented on the Ambassador Tour. And as expected, the wines differ by AOC because of terrior and the grapes planted. Besides some indigenous grapes, the most popular grape varieties are Rhone varieties: Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, and Mourvedre for reds and Rousanne, Grenache Blamc, Marsanne, and Muscat for whites. Not too surpising since Languedoc and Rhone border each other."

The Latest News : (January 21st 2011)

For the second year in a row, Domaine La Croix Chaptal is selected as one of the top 30 Languedoc Wines on the USA market thanks to its cuvée "Les Terrasses 2007" - AOC Terrasses du Larzac - Languedoc !!!

The selection tasting of the Languedoc Wine Ambassadors Tour was held in New York on January 10th and 11th, 2011 with a jury consisting in 3 American wine specialists :

        Claire Defoe, manager of Sherry-Lehmann, one of the most important wine retailers in New York . She was quoted by the New York Times for her analyses of consumer trends .
        Robert Whitley, wine journalist , writes in the weekly Wine Talk, published nationally. He is also the editor of Wine review online and write once a month in the column Vine talk of Reuters.
         Lora Zarubin is the chief editor of the Wne & Gastronomy  of the Los Angeles Times. She has also written cook books and opened  a restaurant in New York in 1992.

And good news to start the New Year :
Tasting notes from Peter K Wong - Best sommelier from Hong Kong - January 2010 : Cuvée Charles 2005 :

"Aromas of grilled pepper, ripe tannins, a silky well-structured and very balanced wine. The best I have tasted from the South of France. It has tinges od the Lafite Rotschild style".

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung 04-09-2010


Good news to end the year :
La Gazette de Montpellier 24/12/2009 : Dominique Laporte, the best sommelier in  France, has selected la Croix Chaptal as one of the  50 best wines in Languedoc-Roussillon :
Domaine La Croix Chaptal
Here we are again on the Aniane terroir. Rounded stones and pebbles dominate on a poor and deep clayey limestone soil which is naturally well drained and windswept by the mistral and tramontane.
The wines from La Croix Chaptal ( interesting name for a wine, don’t you think ?) are listed in all the great guides and praised by wine critics ; indeed they deserve this praise. If  I were you, I would try the cuvée “ Les Origines “ ( Coteaux du Languedoc) which, according to the vintage, is based upon one of the three varieties : Carignan, Grenache, or Syrah.
Domaine La Croix Chaptal  Cambous 34725 St André de Sangonis 04 67 16 09 36.

Our list of Awards on the 2010 guides

Guide Dussert Gerber 2010

First classified great Wines. 

Prizewinner among  the top 10 wine-growers of the year.

An estate spreading over 25 hectares of vineyards and 10 hectares of woods .
This Coteaux-du-Languedoc cuvée Les Origines Déodat de Séverat 2006 is a success with its low-yielding Syrah blended with a tinge of Grenache and Carignan. Every year, one or several plots are more thoroughly prepared for producing low yields of 17 to 25 hl/ha. According to the vintage and the results obtained, one or several exceptional cuvées are made from one of the three varieties as its/ their main ingredient : Carignan, Grenache or Syrah. Each of the 3 varieties in this trilogy “ The Origins” is related to a character or an event that marked the beginning of the history of the estate.
This wine is very good in the mouth , with tinges of blackcurrant and pepper ; it is concentrated both in colour and texture with a pleasant spicy final touch which foretells an excellent evolution (18 €).

 Great Coteaux-du-Languedoc cuvée Les Origines Seigneurie de Cambous 2005 issued from very low-yielding Carignan combined with a touch of Grenache and Syrah. This wine is really well made, colored and full-bodied, dense, with both mature and powerful tannins. It combines charm and structure with aromas of red fruits, spices, and touches of undergrowth.

Along with the above wine, the Coteaux-du-Languedoc Les Sigillées Blanc 2008 (7€) is very pleasant as is the Clairette-du-Languedoc Vieilles Vignes 2007 ( White Clairette, aged in new oak barrels for 30% of it and in tanks on lees for 70%), a smooth as well as lively wine (8€).

 The Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac cuvée Charles 2006
(approximately one third of the 3 varieties Grenache, Syrah and Carignan on soils made of rounded stones and pebbles with some red clay ; hand picked harvest with 30 to 40 days of vatting for each variety and 23 months of ageing (at least half of it in barrels), the wine is unfiltered) has aromas of cooked red fruits and a nuance of truffle and humus in the nose, it is four-square and long on the palate. (12 €)

 The Coteaux-du-Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac red 2006 ( traditional vinification with a short period in barrels) is in its youth an ideal accompaniement to grilled meat (8€).

 Charming Coteaux-du-Languedoc Les Sigillées rosé 2008, is fresh, fruity, subtle and very aromatic – No hesitation whatsoever-

Guide Hachette 2010

 Déodat de Séverat Les Origines 2006
1,5 ha   5000 bottles  15to 23 €

A monk from Gellone Abbey created the vineyard of the estate of Cambous in the early Xth century .
In 1999, Charles PACAUD revived this “ terroir” of rounded stones on the “Terrasses du Larzac”. He offers here a “cuvée” whose main variety is Syrah and whose mineral nose is moderated by overtones of ripe fruits and pepper. Its ample and fresh mouth is structured by tannins that will require a year or two to melt.
Its persistent finish reveals strength and richness.

Regions of France 2009

Red : Les Origines - Déodat de Séverat 2006
Mineral and smoky nose with overtones of liquorice and candied black fruit . The mouth is full-bodied, really fruity with a refined texture and round tannins. A long and aromatic finish.17,50 €

Red : Cuvée Charles 2006
In the nose, a bouquet of leather, “garrigue” plants and peppery black fruits.  The mouth shows supple body and is aromatic with spicy fruit and well-refined tannins. 11,50€

Dry white : Clairette du Languedoc 2007
A roasted and smoky nose with overtones of mature white fruit and baked apples. The mouth is round with tinges of caramel and a spicy finish.
A white wine for gastronomy. 8 €


Clairette du Languedoc A.O.C - Clairette Blanche 2007 : 81 out of 100
A bright pale gold colour . an intense woody and roasted nose with a citrus background.
The mouth is full, rich, dominated by the wood. The fruit is still in the background. This wine still has to assimilate its ageing process.
Approximate price : 8 €
Where to find it : at the estate cellar- in wine shops- in restaurants.

Coteaux du Languedoc - Terrasses du Larzac A.O.C
    - Les Origines- Déodat de Séverat 2006 : 86 out of 100

A concentrated colour with highlights connoting its youth . A fine woody nose with overtones of vanilla, blackcurrant and black cherry.
In the mouth, its texture is supple, silky and smooth, its tannins fine ans its vanilla woody taste combines with the fruits. A refined Languedoc.
Approximate price : 18 €
Where to find it : at the estate cellar- in wine shops- in restaurants.

     - Cuvée Charles 2006 : 84 out of 100
A deep colour with highlights connoting its youth. A ripe nose with overtones of spices, stewed fruits and fruits in brandy.
In the mouth, it is smooth, supple and with a distinctive fruitiness –A well- balanced and fruity Languedoc. It is ideal to accompany a couscous.
Approximate price : 12 €
Where to find it : at the estate cellar- in wine shops- in restaurants.

     - Les Terrasses 2006 : 83 out of 100
A deep colour with highlights of garnet. A blooming nose evoking undergrowth, leather and sugared fruits. The mouth confirms this evolved aromatic overall impression. It is on the whole straightforward and rounded. Ideal with small game.
Approximate price : 8 €
Where to find it : at the estate cellar- in wine shops- in restaurants.


Enjoy the Languedoc - it won't be here forever, from Andrew Jefford : Decanter January 2009 (pg 21)
"...Geologically, the Languedoc hills are a synopsis of everything which makes France so propitious for winegrowing... Surely in any other country, those Languedoc hills would have been a star region; their misfortune was to find themselves sharing a nation with Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire and the Rhône. And too far from Paris.
But where is the best spot in the Languedoc ? My theory is that Terrasses du Larzac is the greatest spot in the Languedoc... Stone and slopes alone don't make for great wine - as much of Provence proves - but when skilled winegrowers grapple intelligently and sensitively with nature here, the results seem to me to have the same aromatic, textural potential as the best of the Rhône..."

Wine Spectator of January 2009 : SAVVY SHOPPER
Strategies to help you choose the best wines in 2009 -  TOP VALUES :
Domaine La Croix Chaptal "Cuvée Charles" 2005 = 90/100 : $20
Domaine La Croix Chaptal "Les Terrasses" 2005 = 88/100 : $15

Three stars in the September issue of  DECANTER

Domaine La Croix Chaptal - Terrasses du Larzac - Cuvée Charles 2005 : 15,33/20
"Robust black-cherry nose. Ripe and oaky. Rich, supple, juicy with robust tannins. Not a lot of character but a good mouthful. From 2008"

1999-2009 the adventure goes on...

 HACHETTE guide 2009 : confirmed presence of Cuvée Charles.

BETTANE ET DESSEAUVE 2009 : identity and character of our Terroir.

DUSSERT GERBER 2009 : an outburst of praises. 


BETTANE ET DESSEAUVE 2009 : 2 stars - pg 780
After an earlier career in the wine business for a big company, Charles Pacaud has built his Domaine to produce very specific, greatly charming wines that definitely get off the beaten track. The Rosé wine, close to a “Clairet”, does not yield to fashion, it combines charm with a very resilient character. As regards red wines, the production is at a high quality standard.
Anyway, you will have understood that the wines from this Domaine deserve to be chosen for their incredible capacity for fitting dishes. 

Coteaux du Languedoc 2006 Rosé
( ageing 2008 to 2010) 6,90€                       14/20
This rosé is full of character and will go well with spicy dishes from North Africa but it is not suited to « aperitf ».

Coteaux du Languedoc Cuvée Charles 2005
Red ( ageing 2008 to 2012) 12 €               16/20
The structure is dense, salty with light tannins.
This full-bodied wine with powerful flavours will go along perfectly with a grilled beef rib.

Coteaux du Languedoc Seigneurie de Cambous 2005
Red ( ageing 2008 to 2010) 18€                15,5/20
Fine tannins indeed within a silky structure with a level of acidity that will allow remarkable associations with a North American type of cooking.

Table wine Vendanges du 17 octobreNaturally Sweet White
(ageing 2008 to 2010) 12,50 €                  15,5/20
This table wine is made from botrytised grapes. It is elegant in the nose, with a powerful body and intense sugar content.

HACHETTE WINE GUIDE 2009 : 1 star - pg 757
Domaine La Croix Chaptal Terrasses du Larzac Cuvée Charles 2005 *
The label shaped like a keystone is a reference to the stones of the great cellar of the Domaine.
By combining Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan equally, this cuvée is highly representative of the Terrasses du Larzac thanks to its aromas of fruits, pepper and toast – After giving a first impression of smoothness, the mouth appears firm, structured by well-coated tannins that are already mature . Serve with a beef rib or a cassoulet from Castelnaudary.

 DUSSERT GERBER 2009: 1er Grand Cru Classé - pg 474
An estate spreading over 25 ha of vineyards and 10 ha of woods. 

Fine Coteaux du Languedoc Cuvée les Origines  Seigneurie de Cambous 2005 made from a very low – yielding Carignan combined with a touch of Grenache and Syrah, a very well matured wine that is dense, coloured and full-bodied with both ripe and powerful tannins, it combines charm and structure with aromas of red fruits and spices and hints of undergrowth.

By its side, the Clairette du Languedoc Vieilles Vignes 2006 ( Clairette blanche, maturing in new oak barrels for 28% and in tanks on lees for 72% ) is a smooth as well as vigorous wine (8€).

The Cuvée Charles Terrasses du Larzac 2005 (approximately one third of the 3 varieties Grenache, Syrah and Carignan on soils made of rounded stones and gravels  with some red clay, hand-picked grapes left in tanks for 30 to 40 days for each variety, and 23 months of maturing with at least half of the time in oak barrels, the wine is unfiltered ) has aromas of cooked red fruits, of truffle and humus ; it is well-structured with a lengthy final touch in the mouth. (12 €).

The Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac 2005 ( traditional vinification with a short stay in barrels) is ideal in its youth for accompanying grilled meat (8 €).

Charming Coteaux du Languedoc Les Sigillées Rosé 2007 fresh, fruity and subtle, a wine full of aromas indeed (7€).

We have also loved this astonishing Naturally Sweet  White wine, mainly made from Roussanne ; it is smooth and generous (12,50€).

Therefore, have no hesitations.


Two acknowledgements for our two most representative wines :

The Savvy Shopper : Languedoc

By Bruce Sanderson
From Wine Spectator magazine,
July 31, 2008 issue

The Coteaux du Languedoc Cuvée Charles 2005 (90, $20) from Domaine La Croix Chaptal is firm and powerful, oozing with dark cherry and dried herb notes flanked by mocha and spice.

La Revue du Vin de France : Millésime 2007 (Vintage) - pg 180
Domaine La Croix Chaptal Clairette du Languedoc - Clairette Blanche : 17,5/20
"Rare cuvée made from 100% Clairette : full-bodied and elegant structure, handsome, straightforward and ripe texture, full of freshness, lengthy in the mouth with a spicy final touch, caraway and fennel"


Terre de vins mars-avril-mai 2008 n°38


"Charles-Walter Pacaud, who was born in Cognac, discovered the Languedoc area during his course of study at the Engineer School of Agronomics in Montpellier. He then roved about the world of wine from England to Listel, worked in Napa Valley and Provence before settling in the hamlet of Cambous in 1999. He little by little decided he could completely place his confidence in this superb terroir by working on the soil, falling in love with carignan and interfering in vinifications in the slightest possible way. That explains why the two cuvees that were presented to our jury , are inevitably anchored in the terroir. They both won our unanimous support and place this 18-hectare estate among the best in the appellation.

The cuvee Les Terrasses 2005 (17 out of 20; 7.70€), made of grenache and carignan with a touch of syrah is a full-bodied, rich and noble wine. That is true for the nose which is intense, complex, ripe, blending aromas of candied fruit (cherry, raspberry), “garrigue”, dried fig and nutmeg. The mouth is in keeping with the above: mellow, well-defined, fresh with mineral touches at the end.

We also find the same terroir character in the cuvée Les Origines – Seigneurie de Cambous, AOC Terrasses du Larzac 2005 (18 out of 20 ;18€), all in praise of the carignan variety , with its bewitching nose blending aromas of earth, redcurrant, tobacco, undergrowth and soft spices. The full-bodied, tasty, silky texture in the mouth is outstandingly harmonious and lends itself to many different gourmet combinations”.



A few new articles from the 2008 wine guides

 The 2008 Hachette wine guide:

 Our domaine la Croix Chaptal confirms its presence in this guide for the 7th  year in a row.

Terrasses du Larzac Cuvee Charles 2004: one star. In 1999, Charles Pacaud took over this very old vineyard created in the X th century by the Benedictine monks of Gellone Abbaye. On this terroir, equal shares of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan have produced a wine tinged with a slightly  wild taste  completed by aromas of toast and garrigue. Firm tannins support this wine in its development and also guarantee that it will favourably evolve over two to three years. To be drunk with a bull stew.

 Bettane and Desseauve 2008 wine guide:

 Superb first mention in this guide with 4 wines listed from the outset

 After working as a business manager for a famous wine company, Charles Pacaud has been building his domaine in order to produce very specific, greatly charming wines that are decidedly meant to wander off the beaten track. The production of white is limited but the Clairette is so pure that it hardly has any equivalent in France. The rosé adopts a vinous style close to a claret and does not give way to fashion. It combines charm with a strong character.

The red wines are quite good. To put it in a nutshell, you must have understood that the wines from this Domaine deserve to be tasted for their incredible adaptation to gastronomy.

  Clairette du Languedoc 2005 :

White : 2007 to 2010     7.50 €        15.5/20 

The Clairette may no longer be a very fashionable variety because of its being prone to oxidation.

But try it with your meal when it reaches that level of purity and it will surely show you how good it is at enhancing the most refined gastronomy!!

 Côteaux du Languedoc 2005 :

red : 2007 to 2010     6.60 €           15/20

Hints of mint and rosemary in a well-structured wine with a remarkable aromatic charm. Its tannins are smooth and steadily present.

 Côteaux du Languedoc 2005 :

rosé : 2007 to 2008     6.60 €        15/20

 This is a powerful rosé which has not given way to softness as it is really straightforward and clear-cut as far as  its aromas are concerned. It is cut out for gastronomy in the same way as the Clairette.

 Côteaux du Languedoc « Cuvée Charles 2004 :

red : 2007 to 2010     11 €            15.5/20

 A pleasant dense and refined texture with very round tannins. The freshness of this greatly charming cuvee is indeed invigorating.
“Happiness immediately” more than 500 delicious and affordable wines to be tasted without waiting!


The Dusssert-Gerber 2008 wine guide:

 confirms our status as “ 1 er grand cru classé”

 A 25- hectare vineyard where you find this côteaux du Languedoc Cuvée Charles Terrases du Larzac 2004( 36% Grenache, 32% Syrah and 32 % Carignan on soils made of rounded stones, gravels and some red clay) the grapes are hand-picked then allowed to ferment and rest in tanks for 30 to 40 days for each variety before ageing for 23 months ( half this time in barrels), the wine is unfiltered.

It is still very young, very firm, with hints of cooked red fruit, truffles and humus in the nose. It is well-structured and has a lasting final taste. (11.70 €). The Clairette du Languedoc “Vieilles Vignes 2005  (Clairette blanche, 25% matured in new oak and 75 % in tanks on lees) is full of aromas and both mellow and vigorous (7.50 €).

The Cuvée les Origines, Seigneurie de Cambous, made from low-yielding Carignan combined to a note of Grenache and Syrah, is a dense, very well matured wine with aromas of spices and candied fruit as well as ripe and powerful tannins;it is firm, coloured, fleshy and will age well ( 18 €). Do not hesitate either.


The Gilbert and Gaillard 2008 wine guide:

 Vieilles Vignes 2005 :

Price 7.50 €        85/100

 A golden colour. A superb nose with very ripe fruit (apricot, grape) on a slightly smoky backdrop. A fine roundness in the mouth; a full; fresh and aromatic wine.

The final touch is directed towards a fine tinge of ripe grapes.

 Cuvée Charles 2004 :

Price 11.50 €        89/100

 The second best mark in Côteaux du Languedoc  (vintages and terroirs combined)

 Red cherry colour. A superb nose with very ripe fruit (cherry, morello cherry). The mouth is crunchy,  fruity, fresh, framed by well-integrated tannins. Nose and mouth combine in a long, harmonious and somewhat mineral final touch.


Press review July 2007.

A wealth of articles over this first semester  (non-exhaustive list):

Clairette du Languedoc 2005 and Cuvée Charles 2004 are praised again in : 

- the 2007 Hubert guide, page 292, with 4 glasses for each of these 2 wines: 

• “Cuvée Charles 2004: a peppery nose with tinges of leather and toast. In the mouth, it is dense and the tannins can still be perceived with a very spicy final note.”

• “Clairette 2005: a smoky nose with tinges of ripe fruit and oriental spices; the mouth is in the same vein, with great notes of dried fruit.”


The Domaine is also praised in Michel Smith’s book page 171, in the column ”evolving Grands Crus: the promising ones and the forgotten ones…”

“Here is an actually soaring Domaine from which we are expecting significant progress before we can speak of great wines. In 2000, the Cuvée Charles is impressive through its tannins, length in the mouth and its tinges of “garrigue”. As for a white wine, there is also the Clairettte du Languedoc, one of the oldest varieties and one of the earliest appellations in the area.”


The Seigneurie de Cambous 2004 is also mentioned in the Républicain Lorrain :

“In the nose, this wine sends out its aromas of candied small  red fruit with a few tinges of spices and garrigue. The mouth is well-structured, smooth and full with fine tannins. A wine that should still be kept.” 


A harvest of articles on our Rosé Coteaux du Languedoc 2006 and 2005 in this month of July! 

- in the July issue of La Revue du Vin de France  it is awarded a mark of 16 out of 20 and named “great wine”: “a fine Rosé, brightly-coloured, fresh and sprightly! Strong character.” 

- a very praising article in “ la Revue Nationale de la Chasse ( the National magazine for hunting) :

“In the stone cellar of Domaine la Croix Chaptal built not far from the vineyard in 1875, the game from a great hunting party could well be kept fresh for a few days.

Charles Pacaud merely chooses to let his Rosé age a little longer than that of his colleagues. Thus it is this extra time which gives his wines the brightly-coloured robe which reminds us of claret.

Its nose is leaning towards wood and spices on a background of red fruit. It is full-bodied and fleshy as well as very smooth and fresh. Goes well with a game couscous.”

- the Rosé Coteaux du Languedoc 2005 is again praised in the July issue of

le Chasseur Français ( the French Hunter)

 “Its elegant and rich fruit recalls that of a red wine but its freshness in the mouth is indeed that of a rosé. It is really delicious along with a ratatouille, with or without meat.”


- The Rosé is also mentioned in the issue n°66 of Tentation Magazine:

 “An astonishing Coteaux du Languedoc 2005 whose slightly dark robe is rather far from the usual concept of a rosé.

Nevertheless, in the mouth it is fleshy and can go well with a spicy meal ( and above all with North African cuisine).”



A few new articles from the 2007 wine guides


Dussert-Gerbert 2007 (p 429 & 455).

Premier grand vin classé ***** by Patrick Dussert-Gerbert who liked very much:

            Côteaux du Languedoc rosé 2005 (Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, ageing on lees) intense colour, candied morello cherry in the nose, spicy, full-bodied with harmonious and balanced tannins (6,90 €).

Clairette du Languedoc Vieilles Vignes 2004 (Clairette blanche, traditional vinification on lees. 25 % in new oak and 75 % on lees in tanks) is both mellow and vigorous (7,50 €).

Côteaux du Languedoc Red Cuvée Charles Terrasses du Larzac 2003 (38 % Syrah, 37 % Carignan and 25 % Grenache, aged for 22 months, unfiltered), powerful, intense colour, flavoursome tannins, full of aromas (blackberry, blackcurrant, spices...), a promising wine (11,50 €).

Les Origines Déodat de Séverat 2004 (Red). This cuvée is intense and complex (18 €).  Do not hesitate.

Hachette guide 2007 : Seigneurie de Cambous Les Origines (Red) 2004 obtains one star (p 745).

 Charles-Walter Pacaud tends to his vineyard and his wines as delicately and thoroughly as the Benedictine monks who preceded him on this estate in the Xth century. In this wine, subtlety rivals with strength. From the garnet colour tinged with dark purple, one can guess at the complex aromas: toast, spices, dried fruit and a gentle hint of vanilla. Its velvety touch on the palate combined with powerful tannins will allow this wine to accompany a hare in chocolate sauce.


Gilbert and Gaillard guide 2007.

82 out of 100 for Clairette Vieilles Vignes 2004 (p 308). Light yellow colour. A very expressive nose combining flowery and citrus fruit (grapefruit) hints. Fat and full-bodied in the mouth. A very smooth, rather long-lasting style. To be appreciated with cooked fish. Approximate price: 7,50 €.

·     Our Cuvée Charles 2003 and Clairette du Languedoc 2004 are pushed to the front on page 309 in the 2006 Guide Hubert :

Red Cuvée Charles 2003 : 4 glasses out of 5. Licorice combined with stewed red fruit and a touch of leather in the nose. In the mouth, this wine displays wild notes, a smooth structure, a spicy and peppery final touch.

  Dry white Clairette du Languedoc 2004 : 4 glasses out of 5. A ripe nose with hints of honey, dried fruit and oven-baked apple. The mouth is round and toasted, fruity and mature.


·     Out Déodat de Séverat 2004 is praised in Terre De Vin n°30, p 18:

“Charles Pacaud’s estate goes a step further with “Les Origines”, a new ambitious range of three “cuvées”, each one with one of the three following varieties : Carignan, Grenache or Syrah as its main basis. This Coteaux du Languedoc 2004 (17,50 €) pays tribute to Déodat de Séverat, a monk from Gellone Abbey who created the vineyard of the estate of Cambous in the early Xth century. In this wine, the Syrah variety prevails supported by a touch of Grenache and Carignan. Its nose is toasted and full of ripe wild black berries and elderberry. In the mouth, touches of blackberry jam, of prune, of thyme and ash prevail. This is a powerful, fleshy, concentrated wine but it remains fresh and full-bodied with a long-lasting mint-flavoured final touch.”


Last Press Release from "Wine Reviews & Rant" - Australia :  92 points to La Croix Chaptal - Seigneurie de Cambous 2001

"The vineyard is mainly old vines planted near Cambous about 45 minutes west of Montpellier. It is mainly Carignan with a bit of Grenache and Syrah. The nose was still closed, but had a bit of cinnamon spice and licorice. The same tones were in the wine along with an almost thick structure of fine tannins. No fruit sweetness, but still a bit dark red fruits and spicy overtones. The wine was made to "express the unique terroir of Cambous as it must have been in the 10th century when owned by the monks of Gellone Abbey". This is one of the best Languedoc wines I have tasted."

Tasting scores :   90-100 = very fine, extraordinary,   80-89 = very good,   70-79 = solid,   60-69 = faults are not obvious.