Domaine Borie la Vitarèle

France, Languedoc-Roussillon

Too often the Languedoc is mentioned unfairly in the same breathe as a reliable source of cheap supermarket wines, a place of happy holiday memories, perhaps enjoying the wines of the local cave co-operative, but in truth it is so much more than this.

The rugged landscape that takes in Carcassonne, Bezier, Narbonne & Montpellier to name but a few of beautiful towns and cities you may be familiar with. It is full of genuinely great terroir that has drawn winemakers from all over the globe. With land relatively cheap to purchase in comparison to say the Rhone Valley or Burgundy, you can see why so many take up residence and pursue a life in vineyards of this sun baked part of the South of France. Add to this the exceptional schiste terroir that lends so much feel and texture and you have a recipe for success when in the right hands.

We are always on the lookout for exceptional wines, made by passionate people who care deeply about the environment in which the work and exist. The wines of Saint-Chinian and in particular Borie la Vitarèle have been on our radar for a couple of years now, after tasting and meeting the delightful team of Camille & Ullrich at this years Wine Paris and again in Montpellier. It was a fairly simple decision, although we did have to bat off a little competition to secure their wines, thus proving that good wines are in demand.

Founded in 1990 by Jean-Francois & Cathy Izarn, Borie la Vitarele has 18 hectares planted in AOC Saint-Chinian, working organically and biodynamically since 1998, this is a domaine with heart and courage, driven by adversity to follow the dream of making wines with a sense of place from great terroir. Cathy and daughter Camille continue the work of the late Jean-François, who sadly passed away after an accident with a toppling tractor in the vineyard - from adversity comes strength so they say.

Jean-François's daughter Camille has been making the wines now since 2017, a hands off, minimal intervention approach is adopted, she refers to her approach as a 'slow infusion' when it comes to vinification. These are wines of real finesse and you can feel the sense of softness in the wines. They are ready to go now and can be enjoyed with or without food. It might sound a tad cliched but a hearty cassoulet and a bottle of 'Les Schistes' really does prove the point that schiste happens.