Although the domaine was established some 30 years ago, it has gained fresh impetus since Renate and Rolf Freude bought the property in 2007. The Freunds run a wine importing business in Borgholzhausen in northern Germany.
“Our ambition is to produce ‘grand vin’,” explains Sandrina Hugeux, who is in charge of administration and selling. ”We’ll use whatever grapes varieties suit our terroir best. Our desire to produce top quality wine comes before sticking to the permitted varieties in the appellation rules, even though the reputation of the AC can be useful.”
Domaine de la Grange is set in the hills on the road from Faugères and Pézenas between the villages of Gabian and Fouzilon. The vineyards are surrounded by garrique, which both ensures that there is little or no pollution and that there is a natural balance controlling insects that might cause problems in the vines. Although the domaine is not organically farmed, they use grass in the vineyards with every second row grassed over. It also has natural reserves of water – important in an area where the summers can be hot and dry.
“Naturally our aim to preserve the natural environment and to farm in a sustainable manner,” Hugeux explains. “The domaine has 30 hectares of vines and we are lucky that Pierre-Yves Orcière, the previous owner, is still involved. He looks after the vines, so we benefit from his knowledge of our different parcels of vines. The objective is to have lowish yields of between 35-40 hectolitres per hectare. Our young winemaker is Christian Chèze and we also have the well-known Jean Natoli as our consultant.”
Domaine de la Grange has a mix of traditional Mediterranean and Rhône varieties, such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault, as well those fro Bordeaux and Burgundy – Chardonnay, Merlot and now Cabernet Sauvignon.
“Since 2007 we have replanted a number of parcels making sure that we plant grape varieties that are best adapted to that soil and its situation. Recently, on the advice of Jean Natoli, we have planted some Cabernet Sauvignon. We will have to see what the results are like – perhaps it will be released on its own or as a blend with Merlot. We hope that it will either go into our Castalides Reserve or Icône ranges. As I said the aim is to make as high quality wine as possible. Although we have 19 hectares classified as Coteaux du Languedoc, the quality of the wine comes before the appellation rules.“
As well as the Castalides Reserve and Icône wines, they have the Classique designed to be light, easy drinking wines and the Terroir that match single grape varieties with a particular vineyard.
“Currently at least 90% of our sales are in our export markets. As well as Germany we sell in Denmark, Holland and Belgium and our sales are developing in Asia.” Hugeux has just returned from a visit to Shangai and to the Hong Kong International Wines and Spirits Fair. “The trip went very well as the success of Bordeaux has opened the door to other French wines, which have a reputation for high quality. There is a lot of interest in wine over there now.”
Hugeux is now looking to develop the local market and to get their wines into the best restaurants in the region.
Domaine de la Grange
Route de Fouzilhon
Téléphone: +33 (0)467 24 69 81
Fax: +33 (0)467 24 69 81