The 15.5 ha of Terrasses du Larzac are divided up into the following varieties : Syrah (35%), Grenache (29%), Carignan (20%) and Mourvèdre (16%).The average age of the vines is 25 years.
The Domaine also owns 2 ha of Clairette du Languedoc and 1 ha of very old Aramon.
Pebbles and gravel stemming from 10 different rocks cover most of the surface of the best plots where the poor clay and limestone soil is deep enough to drain moisture. Vines and olive trees have been thriving on this terroir ever since the beginning of the Xth century when they were planted by Déodat de Séverat, one of the monks of Gellone Abbey, located today in the medieval village of St Guilhem le Désert.
Today, Domaine La Croix Chaptal has regained its former prestige thanks to the impetus given by Charles-Walter PACAUD who makes red terroir wines that are fleshy, full of vigour and fruit and result from sorted out and destemmed grapes.
Among them, Cuvée Charles, made from a selection of the best plots of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, has a great ageing potential and is the most typical of the terroir.
Charles-Walter Pacaud : “ I was born in Cognac, Charentes. When I was studying viticulture and oenology in Montpellier thirty years ago, it appeared quite clearly to me that some terroirs in Languedoc were potentially outstanding and since then I had craved for creating my own vineyard . Therefore, I did everything I could in order to prepare for this undertaking ( complementary business studies, technical and business professional training in the UK, the USA and France) while looking for the ideal spot.
My student dream finally came true in 1999 on this mineral terroir which combines freshness and maturity, in the historic heartland of Coteaux du Languedoc.”
Why La Croix Chaptal ?
1) The estate draws its name from the Languedoc cross enhanced by the shape of a heart at its bottom (symbolizing Faith and Charity) which is engraved on the pediment of the impressive stone cellar built in the XIIIth century.
The labels on the bottles of our wines are inspired by the shape of the keystones and coats of arms of the cellar.
2) The name Chaptal is a double hint at my wife who continuously encourages me and at one of her ancestors Jean-Antoine CHAPTAL who created in Montpellier the first university chair in Oenology in the world.
3) The historical name of the estate in the Middle Ages “ Seigneurie de Cambous” is nowadays given to one of my cuvées.
- Being bio-accountable while avoiding any form of ideological rigidity : for instance, in 2000 along with other vinegrowers from Terrasses du Larzac, I created a group dealing with integrated farming management and we continue today along the same line.
- Respecting the “terroir” in order to extract the best from it : letting grass grow naturally while containing it to a reasonable growth, limiting fertilizers as much as possible in order to let the soil live ( worms, bacteria) and re-establish its biodiversity.
- Finding the best balance between respect of the soil, the air, CO2 emissions and Man.
- Seeking the pleasure of authenticity, letting time take time ( which means without constraints or acceleration).
Cultivating the vineyard :
Controlled natural grassing over 1 row out of 2 in all rows according to the plots and cultivation of the other row from April-May to August.
In the aftermath of the harvest, either I let the grass grow or I sow some, this method results in lightening the soil while bringing humus and favouring the taking over of the soil by worms and bacteria. Pruning from January to March, thinning out of leaves on fruit-bearing branches to air the foliage and the stock, training of Syrah, Mourvèdre and part of Grenache vines, pollarding and thinning out of leaves according to needs . A lot of time is needed to watch the vines and to understand and answer their expectations.
Work in the cellar :
Hand harvesting with sorting out in the vineyard then on arrival at the cellar, destemming without pressing. Then the aim is to intervene as little as possible, indeed the work in the cellar comes down to carefully following the needs of the grapes, it is only the result of the work in the vineyard, of the date and quality of the harvest. If the quality does not require it, as was the case en 2007, I do not add any outside product. The fermentation of my musts results only from endogenous yeast.
Vinification only depends on my deep feeling and daily tasting. According to the latter, I will choose pumping-over and/or pigeages. The malolactic fermentation on marc is hoped for, otherwise it will happen in barrels during the next spring season.
Part of my wines is transferred into barrels during the days that follow racking, mainly the wines from the plots pre-selected for making the Cuvée Charles and the Origins. The period of maturing in barrels is subject to variations but seldom exceeds a year. Then maturing goes on in tanks. Total maturing time of my various cuvées of Terrasses du Larzac is seldom less than 18 months and sometimes exceeds 2 years.
Wines produced under the appellation Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac :
All my cuvées « Terrasses du
Larzac » are mainly sold in the network of independent wine-merchants both in
France and abroad, but also in restaurants and at the cellar.
Domaine La Croix
Ph./Fax : +33 467 160 936
Postal mail and Head Office:
(SIRET 421 594 052 00019 Code APE 011G)
Phone and Fax : (33) 04-67-16-09-36
Visits can be organised for amateurs' groups. (appointment only)
Please check the map to come and visit the Domaine.