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Languedoc terroir

The vineyards of Domaine La Tasque are near the villages of Mailhac and Bize Minervois. Viticulture is part of the fabric of life here and has been for many centuries. Most of the vineyards in the area are owned by grape farmers who sell the grapes to the Cave Cooperative.

There are three grape varieties grown at Domaine La Tasque – Syrah, Carignan and Grenache.

 

Syrah Syrah vineyard Languedoc

Our original Syrah vineyard is behind the Cayla hill in Mailhac. It is shaped like a sail and is called ‘La Grande Voile’. The soil is limestone and clay with grey sandstone. The clay enables water retention throughout the growing season which is important as there is no irrigation. The Syrah was planted in 1995, clone 99 on rootstock R140. It is cane pruned.

The La Buade Syrah is near Bize-Minervois and we have been farming it since 2018. The vines are on limestone clay soil, are 20 years old and most spur pruned. It ripens a little earlier than our Mailhac Syrah.

 

Carignan

Carignan is has been planted throughout the Languedoc since the 19th century. Over the decades its reputation became tarnished by systematic overcropping which resulted in thin, rustic wines. However, if yields are kept in check or are naturally low, from old vines, it can produce concenrated, minerally wines that reflect the beauty and stony ruggedness of the countryside. old carignan vines

Our original Carignan is 60 years old and is pruned in the traditional, free-standing gobelet way without posts and wires. It is only 100 metres from La Grande Voile Syrah so is a similar soil type, limestone and clay. Our treatment regime is similar to that of our Syrah too – organic products to combat fungal disease, manual weed control and improving soil structure via cover crops.

From late 2018 we started working another old Carignan vineyard ‘en fermage’. That means we have leased it for 9 years but we have the same control over the way we farm it as if we owned it. We call this vineyard ‘La Chapelle’ as it is next to the ruins of the 8th century chapel of St Jean de Caps.

Grenache

Our ‘new’ Grenache vineyard is in fact 20 years old but 2019 will its first vintage at La Tasque.

Organic?

In order to maximize the health of the soil and respect the environment we farm the vines using no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Sulphur and occasionally copper form the basis of our protection against fungal disease. We’ve recently been experimenting with extract of orange oil which works well. Treatments at the beginning of the season are done by hand, moving to a tractor, when the leaf canopy is denser. Leaf plucking, palissage (canopy management) are all done by hand too. Weeds are kept down by ploughing between rows and hand weeding or strimming between vines. We use sexual confusion to combat the grape vine moth so there is no need to spray insecticides.

Soil structure is improved by ploughing in organic cow manure and guano. In some years a cover crop of oats is sown in winter and then ploughed into the soil in spring to provide bulk and organic matter.

We practice organic viticulture but we do not have organic certification yet. We’ve applied for certification through Ecocert and should be officially organic from the 2022 vintage.

See our blog post for exactly what we put on our vineyards.