...is that of a Berlin couple who have realized a dream here in the Languedoc near Rieux: their own winery. We love wine and the power of nature that produces it. Anyone who has experienced the gnarled beauty of the Minervois, the mists over the hilly landscape, the Mediterranean vegetation, is captivated by its originality. We love this land, which reveals in buildings and archaeological traces the eventful history it has lived through: prehistoric caverns and dolmens, castles and ruins, Romanesque buildings between rocks and water. These testimonies of stone provide space for myths - not least that of the Cathars, who left their mark on the area before being destroyed in the so-called Albigensian Crusades. A several hundred years old wine culture characterizes the Minervois. Today, other wine regions are better known, but this does not change the incredible potential that lies dormant in the vineyards of the Minervois. This was already recognized by the "ancients": Even Cicero and Pliny praised the wines from our region. To lift this treasure is our ambition. With Arnaud HORETY we have gained a young, committed cellar master who, together with our experienced "chef de culture" Manuel DE ALMEIDA BATTISTA, has set himself the goal of becoming one of the renowned independent wineries of our region. With him we work together on our mission to produce top wines here in the Languedoc. With some success, as numerous medals won testify. In doing so, the goal is to always get better: Since 2019, we are converting our production to organic, constantly improving our technology and gaining new "savoir faire" every year.
The development of the Domaine Saint Antoine begins with Napoleon. Napoleon is said to have succumbed to the charm of an Irish woman, Marie Anne COPPINGER, widow of an Irishman named Lawless. She had retreated to the south of France as a result of the Irish uprisings against the British crown supported by France. Napoleon is said to have helped her to acquire the Étang de Marseillette and the surrounding area, and to drain the lake
which is probably better thought of as a swamp). It is from this lady that the Domaine St. Antoine, as well as most of the other estates in the area, probably got its name. When she took over the lands, she thought about how to name each spot. It is said that she asked everyone who came from one of the homesteads for his or her first name and named the domain after their respective patron saint. After all, that would explain why most of the estates in the neighborhood are named after saints. But however the winery got its name, today we are proud of the name St. Antoine. St. Anthony of Padua was a man who spent his entire life searching - searching for God. We too want to be open to people who are searching: The search for tranquility, rural life, original products, good wines or even in search of reflection or the mysticism of the Minervois.
The Minervois nestles on the south side of the Montagne Noire like an ancient Greek theater. It covers an area of about 50 km from east to west and 30 km from north to south. It is one of the largest wine-growing areas in the Languedoc, with about 15,000 hectares of vines, although only a third of them are approved for the production of Appelation d'Origine Protétgée
AOP) wines. The vineyards are located at altitudes ranging from 50 to 500 meters above sea level. The different altitudes of each area, as well as their proximity or distance from the Mediterranean Sea, leads to remarkable climatic differences within the Minervois. The vineyards of Domaine St. Antoine are located in the southern part of the region in a terroir called "les Terrasses". One looks south across the valley of the Aude River to Mont Alaric, which is already part of the Corbières. The temperatures are rather high during the day, the nights a bit cooler than closer to the sea. Precipitation is comparatively low. This zone has a balanced climate with relatively high variations between day and night temperatures, which allows the wine to mature in optimal conditions. The frequent wind, for which the Minervois is known and which also blows strongly over the Terrasses, aerates the vines and dries them, resulting in a very low susceptibility to mildew and oidium. The soils are mostly sandstone or calcareous sandstone with some rocky areas. The "Terrasses" are a climatically temperate part of the Minervois, where the extremes of the weather are least felt. The wines here are therefore particularly balanced, full-bodied and round, rich in tannins and anthocyanins.
To make the mysticism of the Minervois and our domaine tangible in every glass of our wine - that is our mission. Here in the Minervois, in one of the oldest wine-growing regions of France, we produce exceptional wines. With due respect for the soil and plants, selected care and a lot of manual work, we bring out the special character of the old vines. In this way we want to make the mysticism of the land experienceable in a new way. In all its facets.
At Domaine St. Antoine, wine is grown on 27ha. The largest part of our vineyards, about 20ha, is located around the central complex on the territory of the communes of Rieux and St. Frichoux. Another 7ha are located on the territory of the neighboring commune of Aigues-Vives.
The southern part of the domaine is located in the Étang Asséché de Marseillette, a lake drained more than 200 years ago. The relatively flat plots are dominated by alluvial soil. Cold soils and a relatively cool climate prevail here, which is perfectly suited for our white wines Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier as well as our Cabernet Sauvignon and, from 2020, our Marselan.
A little to the north, our vines grow on the so-called "coteaux", the hills above the dried-up lake. These areas are strongly influenced by their orientation, in addition to the soil. For about 200 days, a wind from the northwest prevails, the so-called "cers", which is also called "tramontane" elsewhere. It is dry, rather cold in winter, and in summer it offers pleasant refreshment in mostly good weather. The second prevailing wind, the "marin", comes from the Mediterranean and is warm, but often brings humid air or rain.
In the eastern half of our domaine, we find distinctly warm plots facing the Mediterranean in relatively sheltered positions from the wind. These are planted primarily with Syrah, Merlot and Grenache.
Further west, we find mostly west-facing warm soils, but exposed to the cool cers - excellent for our old Carignan vines.
On the plots in Aigues-Vives, Syrah and Grenache grow on hilly limestone soils, mostly in AOP quality. Here is also our oldest parcel of Carignan
1 ha), planted in 1905.
A few years ago we were able to acquire a large former wine cellar, which we brought back to life. We have fundamentally renovated and modernized it according to our current needs. We try to work as much as possible with gravity in order to treat the grape material as softly as possible.
In the cellar there are temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, most of them so-called ever-full tanks, which also allow the vinification of small and medium quantities. In addition, we have some tanks with a fixed dome, which are needed for the so-called carbonic fermentation
"macération carbonique") of our old Carignans. In this form of vinification, whole grapes are brought to "fermentation" with the addition of carbon dioxide, in order to particularly preserve the fruit of the wine. In addition, we have recommissioned some old concrete tanks: Especially for the storage of wines, these are excellent. Our top wine "Révélation", like its smaller brother, the "Intuition", is aged in barriques, small wooden barrels with a volume of 225l each. Contact with the wood, as well as the micro-oxidation that takes place in the barrel, help to bring out the exceptional character of these wines even better.