Fronton (South-West France)
Just 30 mins north of Toulouse, some of France’s rarest vines are painstakingly nursed back from extinction by husband and wife team Diane and Philippe Cauvin. The pair is living their dream, crafting wines from a regional variety: Negrette, which is native to their area of Fronton.
Diane took the reigns of the family estate after learning viticulture and completing a tour de force throughout French vineyards including Burgundy. The first and perhaps the most significant change was to step up the effort to preserve these rare vines by farming Chateau La Colombiere biodynamically in 2006. As the vines have been cultivated here in the same way since the 15th century, this was a significant change, to say the least. Add to this hand picking and sorting and you get the base to create something delicious.
Terroir is composed mostly of gravel and sandy alluvial soils part of the Tarn river terraces. Colombiere's 25 years old vines share the space with some fantastic 70 year old Negrette vines.
Every biodynamic preparation is prepared and dynamised on site, with the focus placed on activating life in the soils by using weeds, cereal cover and ploughing. The Cauvin's prefer a 'hands-off' winemaking style, considering their efforts are best directed at the vineyard.
In the cellar, they use gravity to preserve the quality of the grapes.The grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted. For reds, grapes are then partially de-stemmed and lightly crushed before moving straight into cement vats.
Diane and Philippe will maintain that it’s not rocket science. We think they’re pretty special though, and can drink these fresh and floral wines morning, noon and night…(responsibly).
Red grapes: Négrette, Gamay
White grapes: Chenin, Bouyselet, Sauvignon Blanc
Colombulle Pet Nat