Just over a mile from the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by the cliffs of La Clape, the magnificent vineyards of Château des Karantes offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea with the Pyrenees Mountains visible in the distance. The beautiful winding access to the vineyard through the garrigue fosters a sense of remoteness and contributes to the peaceful surroundings of the estate.
The 193 hectare estate is named after its founder, a former Bishop of Carcassone who planted the original vines hundreds of years ago. 44 hectares are currently under vine, nestled in the Mediterranean Garrigue, extending along the limestone, clay and rocky slopes, which form the “Massif” or Ridge of La Clape. Shielded from the relentless tramontane winds from the north by the massif, the vines enjoy the cool breezes from the sea, just a 2-minute drive away, which ensure freshness and balance. The soil is predominantly clay and limestone and allows the production of rich, powerful and aromatic Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre based wines. At the entrance of the estate there is an area of sandy-silty soil, which produces delicate and elegant red and white wines.
Karantes’ vines are planted within the Coteaux de Languedoc-La Clape appellation, composed of the traditional grape varieties of La Clape (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Carignan). The Blanc/White vines occupy a small part of the estate (Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Vermentino, Roussane, Viognier, Terret Blanc). The Terret Blanc is the oldest plot of the vineyard, planted in 1927. Some plots of Carignan date back to 1928. The average density is 5000 vines/hectare, and harvesting is done strictly by hand.
After careful harvesting, the grapes are hand-selected on a top-of-the-line sorting table, an oddity for a region better known for mass-production. Winemaker Nicolas Laverny consults with world-renowned enologist Claude Gros, whose advice and expertise is invaluable to Château des Karantes. Claude Gros has produced some of the best wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and more recently he has taken his expertise to other renowned wine regions of the world (Spain, California and Bordeaux) as well.
The estate’s commitment to quality and value is evident throughout their entire lineup, and the press is taking notice. Decanter Magazine just awarded their 2010 Bergerie a Regional Trophy, a highly-coveted award seldom seen in the Languedoc. Production levels are extremely low, and quality is on the rise.
Vinecraft represents and distributes the Château des Karantes in Florida.
2010 Château des Karantes Bergerie Rouge
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. Approximately 1500 cases produced. Harvested at 50 hectoliters per hectare. Named after the ancient bergerie, or sheep barn, located on the estate.
2009 Château des Karantes Rouge
60% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache. Fermented in 6000-liter foudre (oak vats). Aged for 12 months in 300L and 600L French oak barrels. Harvested at a severe 25 hectoliters per hectare. About 1500 cases produced.
For more information and photos, visit the Château des Karantes’ Facebook Page.