Plot selection, ‘Sainte Marie’ vineyard in Roquetaillade, one of the highest of the Haute Vallée de l’Aude at an altitude of 400 m. Clay-limestone soil. Low yield of 30hl/ha, hand-picked when fully ripe, grapes picked and transported in small cases to avoid any crushing. Fermentation without sulfite or yeast in oak barrels of 3 years of age (500l) to avoid excessive woody tastes. Ageing in barrels for 9 months on fine lees without racking and without much filtering of lees. Bottled at the domain after a light filtration.
In 1979 when he was 22, Jean-Louis Denois, at least the 6th generation of a Champagne family, decided to do his own thing. After studying winemaking in Beaune and business in Reims, and being head-hunted by South African winery Boschendal, adventure beckoned in the Cape wine-lands where he helped make the first ‘Cap Classique’ sparkling wines.
He carried on down this road, which led him to Limoux in the south de France, another area long known for sparkling wine production and where he’d find quality grapes in noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Jean-Louis has always been close to and loved vines and learned how to treat them with respect from an early age, and always wanted to make his own wine from his own vines. This ambition to live from the quality of his vineyard would end up sooner or later, after a time high-flying and
You can already feel the cool influence of Atlantic weather in the upper Aude Valley, just in the Pyrenees foothills on the Languedoc’s southwestern fringes, with nothing in its way until the Corbières hills.
This cool climate zone is what Jean-Louis Denois was looking for in the Languedoc, when he bought his first Pinot Noir vines in Roquetaillade in 1988, followed by 15 ha of Chardonnay at 400-500m altitude in 1989 to create a Burgundy-style vineyard: Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay for whites (with similar conditions to their Burgundy homeland) with a racy edge that’s rare in the Languedoc Roussillon and at a level never seen before in the south of France, which became the iconic Domaine de l’Aigle.