The wines of the estate
FRIENDSHIP, MIRROR OF HOSPITALITY
The vines of Château des Karantes overlook the long white sandy beaches of Narbonne-Plage where the Phoenicians landed 23 centuries ago bringing the first vine plants.
The estate was founded by a former bishop of Carcassonne, historian and scholar who adopted the name given to these hospitable lands by the Elysiques, an Iberian tribe with Celtic influences who lived in Narbonne and its region even before the Roman conquest. The root Karants, means friend in ancient Celtic.
Much later, the Knysz family, an American family, moved to the Castle of Karantes. Very quickly, their love affair with la Clape the Knysz family was coupled with a friendship with Gérard Bertrand. The latter was already settled in the heart of the massif, in l'Hospitalet; he saw the Karantes as having extraordinary potential: "A thorough visit to the vineyard and its surroundings, where the limestone rock blends with the Mediterranean scrubland, strengthened my desire to make wines of the same level as those of Château l'Hospitalet," he recalls in his autobiography, Le Vin à la Belle Etoile.
Character & Nature
LA CLAPE SEA SIDE
If l'Hospitalet feels the influence of the sea from the heart of the Massif dela Clape, the Karantes vineyards have a breathtaking view of it and are the first to take advantage of its freshness and morning mists.
Château des Karantes is located on the south-eastern flank of the massif, on 193 hectares, 44 of which are vineyards in the appellation La Clape. The vines are planted directly on the seaside, where clear and very draining limestone soils dominate, and in the following, more protected valleys, where limestone mixes with clay. In the most coastal part, the uncompromising aridity of the soils is compensated by the maritime influence, which moderates their harshness with a little softness and humidity.
Mourvèdre, the Mediterranean grape variety par excellence, in love with water, is only truly happy if it sees the sea. It has therefore found on the Karantes coastline a land of choice where it revels in its sea spray. The 1928 Syrah, Grenache and Carignan grape varieties are his happy blending accomplices; they share the clay-limestone valleys. The estate also has a few hectares of white grape varieties: Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Vermentino, Roussanne, Viognier and Terret Blanc.
Magnified by the reflections on the sea, on the white sand of the beaches and the clear soils of the massif, the sunlight impregnates the wines as much as the fragrances of the surrounding scrubland. The biodynamic cultivation of the vineyard sublimates this meeting of grape varieties, sky and earth and allows its full expression in the estate's wines.
SEA BREEZE AND BITTERNESS
In red, the Grand Vin Château des Karantes is based on a Mediterranean blend, dense and generous, with joyfully spicy bouquets. The tannic structure asserts itself in balance on the thread of an acidic ridge tracing from the attack to the finish, the signature of Mourvèdre.
The different grape varieties are harvested at their optimum maturity and vinified separately: the Carignan and part of the Syrah are macerated in whole bunches for a deep colour and fine tannins. Grenache and Mourvèdre are destemmed and undergo a traditional maceration. The grape varieties are blended after fermentation at the end of winter. They are then matured for twelve months, partly in French oak barrels, partly in vats, before the final blend. The wine is then bottled on a fruit day of the lunar calendar, in accordance with the precepts of biodynamics.
The Château des Karantes Grand Vin White is a blend of carefully selected juices of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and the emblematic grape variety of white la Clape wine, Bourboulenc. The latter expresses itself with exotic notes of candied mango, roasted almonds and a deliciously enveloping mouthfeel. The finish is marked by a return of fresh acidity and beautiful bitterness.
Each grape variety is harvested at its optimum maturity, which sometimes means waiting a long time for the late Bourboulenc. The juices are fermented in French oak barrels. Their maturing in barrels lasts between 7 and 8 months until the spring equinox with regular stirring of the fine lees during the first two months. The wine gains in fatness without losing its freshness.
Château des Karantes, "Of Friendship and Sea"
n.m. pl (celt. Karants: friend): place where wines la Clape look out to sea in the name of friendship, eldest daughter of hospitality.