Portel-des-Corbières, France — The Romans came first. The Romans came first to this enchanted land covered with vineyards at an altitude of 950 feet (300 meters) that seemingly plunges directly into the Mediterranean Sea just 6 miles (10 kilometers) away. It is a sweeping land where the wind is a part of the landscape, it is also an ideal land coupled with its good earth for producing some of the finest Corbieres and Languedoc wines in the region. Here sits the Château de Lastours wine estate where the red and white wines of the Corbières appellation are produced as well as fine rosés of Languedoc.
Here in this land loved by small colorful lizards, the sun shines 300 days a year making for great rich wines while the celebrated, powerful and cold Tramontane wind blows from the northwest for 300 days a year naturally cleansing the vineyards and the grapes. « For me the wind is an essential part of the micro-climate here, of the good earth, » commented the estate’s wine expert Anne-Laurence de Gramont.
These vineyards grow in a soil of clay-limestone bringing a freshness to the wines. This is a maritime microclimate offering superb temperate growing conditions for the estate whose agricultural techniques have been certified organic since 2020. The estate is spread out over 2,100 acres (850 hectares) and is peppered with olive trees and a varied vegetation dominated by the garrigue, the local heath. The Romans planted their vine plants there already in Antiquity and the roads from Lastours lead into what was once the Via Domitia —the first Roman road in Gaul. After centuries of upheaval and various proprietors, the Allard family acquired Château de Lastours in 2004. Thibaut de Braquilanges arrived at the helm with a long international experience in wine making and gold medals quickly followed suit.
The Gourmet Gazette was lucky enough to visit the property with director Thibaut de Braquilanges, Anne-Laurence de Gramont, the oenologist and wine expert and Célia Kochems the director of marketing. It was a whirlwind of a visit uphill into the striking vineyards and then down hill for a delectable tasting surrounded by the abundant nature of the estate. The Château de Lastours Blanc 2020 AOP (Designated Label of Origin) Corbières made a lasting impression with its exceptional body and a perfect blending of the grape varieties Vermentino and Roussanne. Another memorable note was found in the generously fruity the Château de Lastours Red 2017 an AOP Corbières, a fine vintage that had been aged in oak for 8 months. One of the more uncanny wines was the Optimus de Lastours 2021, an orange wine made entirely from the Roussanne grape variety and a Vin de France, a table wine.
But the real treat was on the way as well when we settled into a delightful wine and food pairing at the estate’s La Bergerie restaurant: Cocktail hour commenced with a Château de Lastours Grand Vin Rosé 2021, that was pleasantly dry, while a monkfish gravlax was delectable with the Château de Lastours Grand Vin Blanc 2020. The veal medallions in Madeira sauce were sublimated by the aforesaid Château de Lastours Red 2017 and the Comté cheese aged for 24 months proved that the Vin Orange can hold up to a bold cheese. Poached pears were paired with the Château de Lastours Grande Reserve 2017.
It is a welcoming estate with beautiful guest rooms, a fine breakfast and an excellent dining experience in the on-site restaurant La Bergerie. Guided tours of the estate and the cellars are available along with tastings and a visit to the estate’s tasteful boutique. There are plenty of activities throughout the year as well. All in all a fun and delicious place in a corner of France that remains somewhat and refreshingly off the beaten path.©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
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11490 Portel des Corbières
Tel : +33.04.68.48.64.74
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Categories: Gourmet Fare