S.C.V. Castelmaure was founded in 1921 and today consists of 65 members, of which 15 bring 85% of the production. The winery is located in the unofficial Corbières cru site of Durban (there are 11 unofficial Cru's in Corbières), which will become soon an official Cru together with Boutenac and Alaric. The Serre mountain in the south protects the little plateau of Castelmaure from the off weather patterns of the Mediterranean sea.
For almost 15 years, the team, Patrick de Marien (president of the cave) and Bernard Pueyo (the director) worked in trying to produce wines of higher quality each year. In 2018 Bernard Pueyo retired and his successor, Antoine Robert, has been designed to make sure the philosophy remains focused and unchanged.
Embres & Castelmaure - two villages that merged into one in a typical landscape of the Hautes Corbières.
Embres first appeared in a document from March 990. It was mentioned in the history of Languedoc by Don Vaissette regarding a gift from Dame Adélaïde of a wine from a vineyard located « in termino villa Embrécis ». 900 years later, archeological endeavors found the remains of this antique Romanian villa.
Castelmaure is located on the left side of the glorious beginning of a wild valley that features remnants of a Neolithic occupation. It was born from the implantation of a Castrum: a Roman building intended to protect from invasions and smugglers. Castelmaure was established at the shelter of this enclosure at the end of the 10th century, around 1070. The castle was built in the heart of the village in the early 16th century.
Dependent of Castelmaure, the Pre-Romanesque Church of St. Felix is located on the same site. It is very interesting to visit for its architecture of the 9th and 16th century. The Pompadour family who once reigned as lord in the region rests in peace under these old stones. The cuvée Pompadour has been a tribute to them since 1978.
The cooperative was created in 1921 by Doctor Courrent. On top of studying water, he was passionate about cultivating his vineyard. He was also the president and then chairman of Embres & Castelmaure vine growers, and became mayor of the village between 1919 and 1941. He took great care of his vines and bottled his own wine, which figured on great hotel wine menus.
The coop took another step in 2007 with the construction of a modern wine cellar that can hold 1,200 barrels of 220 liters each. For the concept of the building, the cooperative appealed to Anne Lacaton and Philippe Vassal, architects of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, a futuristic building that contrasts with the old cellar of 1921!
The AOC Corbières was created in 1985 and measures 13,034 hectares (32,324 acres). The appellation requires a minimum of two grapes in a wine blend.
The maximum yeild allowed in Corbieres is 50 hl/ha.
The minimum planting density allowed is 4,000 vines per hectare.
The co-op farms 412 hectares (1,018 acres) around the tiny hamlet of Embres et Castelmaure, broken down as follows:
Carignan noir - 150 hectares
Grenache noir - 142 hectares
Syrah/mourvèdre - 91 hectares
Cinsault - 7 hectares
Grenache Blanc - 12 hectares
Maccabeu - 1 hectare
Marsanne - 1 Hectare
other grape varietals - 8 hectares
The 760 parcels are inspected and the characteristics recorded on computer. Each parcel is supervised individually by a technician who dedicates his time to this task. They have re-learned to prune, plough, check yields, sort, select, with a permanent focus on the respect of the environment. All the grapes are harvested by hand. In the cellar, vats hygiene, temperature control, ultramodern pressing contribute to a better expression of the terroir.
Castelmaure produces 90% red wine of which 80% is A.O.C. Corbières.
The evolution of the previously traditional grape variety started in 1980. Since then, half of the vineyard AOP was renewed by replacing the traditional Carignan by Syrah and Grenache. This grape planting evolves at a steady pace with the ultimate goal being the permanent adaptation of the grape to the terroir.
The replacement of carignan by other grape varieties is done while permanently keeping in mind the preservation of plots with high potential.
Protected from maritime influences by an immense mountain range, the vineyard is nestled in the heart of the massif in a small plain, surrounded by a limestone mountains circus to the south and schist folds to the north. Those two components are often found at the bottom of steep slopes as geological displacements have severely affected the area over time.
The climate is Mediterranean with short, mild winters and hot, dry summers washed down by some heavy thunderstorms on August 15th. This yields an ideal climate for excellent grape maturity, making red wines warm, colorful, full-bodied, and suitable for aging.