Arthur Sellers Bulletin Archive
Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:
A little over a year ago, Charles Pacaud and his fellow neighbouring vignerons in theTerrasses du Larzac received AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée) status from the Comité National de l’INAO, the French governing body that regulates the designation of special sites for agricultural products. This is the first red wine area in all of the Languedoc region to attain this distinction (the white wine area of Picpoul de Pinet received similar status two years ago). All to confirm what those of us who have been enjoying Charles’ wines for years already knew – very special wines come from Domaine la Croix Chaptal in the Terrasses du Larzac.
We think highly of the wines from Domaine La Croix Chaptal. The Les Sigillées Rosé is a very special rosé with great complexity; the old vines Clairette du Languedoc Blanc is an equally enchanting wine; the Terrasses du Larzac Rouge is a lovely, lightly oaked, ready to drink crowd pleaser, and; the maestro’s “Cuvée Charles” Rouge is very special and simply delicious.
Côteaux du Languedoc – Les Terrasses du Larzac
The Côteaux du Languedoc, part of the huge Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France (producing more wine than Australia or Bordeaux), is itself a large and varied wine area that fans out from Montpellier near the Mediterranean up to the Massif Central. As Paul Strang notes in his excellent book, ‘Languedoc-Roussillon, The Wines and Winemakers’, “Certainly the most diffuse and varied appellation of Languedoc-Roussillon, Côteau du Languedoc is an amalgam of vastly differing landscapes and terroirs; the wines made there are equally diverse in style. But in each region there is bound to be a handful of growers succeeding in making some of the best wine of the south.”
While wine grapes have been cultivated in the area since Roman times, it was the Benedictine Monks who really developed the reputation of the Languedoc from the tenth to the nineteenth centuries. For trivia fans, here is how the area got its name. Languedoc describes the division between southern France where yes was “Oc” and the north where yes was “Oïl” which became “Oui”. It simply means the place where they say Oc!
Enjoy the Languedoc, from Andrew Jefford: Decanter January 2009 (pg 21)
"...Geologically, the Languedoc hills are a synopsis of everything which makes France so propitious for winegrowing... Surely in any other country, those Languedoc hills would have been a star region; their misfortune was to find themselves sharing a nation with Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire and the Rhône. And too far from Paris. But where is the best spot in the Languedoc? My theory is that Terrasses du Larzac is the greatest spot in the Languedoc... Stone and slopes alone don't make for great wine - as much of Provence proves - but when skilled winegrowers grapple intelligently and sensitively with nature here, the results seem to me to have the same aromatic, textural potential as the best of the Rhône..."
Domaine La Croix Chaptal
The estate consists of 23 hectares of vineyards (half with vines over forty years old), 15.5 hectares of which are in the appellation Terrasses du Larzac. There are a further 10 hectares of woods sprawling over the slopes leading to the Terrasses du Larzac. Large pebbles and gravel are the main components of the poor soil that is naturally drained on the hill-tops and plateau that are constantly swept by those pesky winds, the Mistral and Tramontane. But, it is ideal for grape vines. The Syrah thrives on the cold clay soils while the Clairette du Languedoc, (the grape of the renowned local white wines) Grenache and old Carignan develop to their full potential on the warmer soils.
Charles was born in Cognac and studied viticulture and oenology in Montpellier. Before creating Domaine La Croix Chaptal, Charles worked for several wine companies in the UK, USA and France that are known for their innovative spirit and modern wine-making techniques. He has combined this experience with a healthy appreciation for traditional practices to produce truly remarkable and enjoyable wines.
It would seem that Huguette, now a special educator in Montpellier, also has wine flowing in her veins. Her maiden name is Chaptal and her relative, Jean-Antoine Chaptal developed the process of chaptalization whereby sugar is added to unfermented grape must in order to increase the alcohol content after fermentation.
Charles’ Wines on Offer
Charles makes very good, very serious wines from the best part of the AOC Côteaux du Languedoc - Les Terrasses du Larzac. His wines regularly appear in the ‘Wine Spectator’, receiving high eighties and nineties ratings. We have the 2013 ‘Les Sigillées’ Rosé, 2013 Clairette de Languedoc Blanc - Vieilles Vignes, 2013 Les Terrasses du Larzac Rouge and 2010 ‘Cuvée Charles’ along with a six-bottle mixed case of all four and a very special vertical sampler of the 2009 through 2013 ‘Cuvée Charles’. I heartily endorse each of these wines. Have no doubt that I will be ordering some for Arthur’s Cellar. Charles’ wines come in convenient six-bottle cases. These are all terrific and each comes from a very good vintages. We will be taking your orders to the LCBO on Friday, December 4th.
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.
Please pass this bulletin on to others you think might like to take advantage of this offering of Charles Pacaud’s great wines from Les Terrasses du Larzac.
Many thanks and cheers,
Jim, Hélène and Kate