Blason Chateau Fontareche, grands vins des Corbières
CORBIÈRES AOC: our mark of quality

‘An AOC (controlled appellation of origin) designates a product whose main production stages are completed using recognised expertise in a single geographic area, giving the product its particular characteristics (…)

 

It is a defined area within which a human community develops collective expertise in production over the course of its history (…)

The rules for making an AOC are set out in specifications and are subject to control procedures implemented by an independent body authorised by the INAO.’

Source: INAO (French National Institute of Origin and Quality)

Built by winemakers based on unique human, historic and technical values, the Corbières appellation embodies the concept of quality in the broadest sense. Although the tools have changed over the centuries, the challenge has remained the same: produce a genuine, healthy wine that offers pleasure whilst also preserving the natural heritage of its origins. With 2,000 years of history, Corbières vineyards are a reminder of their fundamentally Mediterranean positioning.

Today, wine production and consumption have gone far beyond the Mediterranean and extend to every country in the world, regardless of their history or tradition. In this globalised context, AOC Corbières – as a pioneering Languedoc appellation – stands as a strong benchmark with a historic backing second to none.

Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, the winemakers of Corbières are committed to sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable like the soils which have held the vines for centuries without losing their resources.

Or sustainable like Carignan – the appellation’s iconic grape – whose longevity is unique the world over, assuming that it is properly agronomically cared for.

Ensuring this sustainability requires an in-depth knowledge of the technical and environmental issues.

Vine and wine bring a whole new meaning to agriculture: that of a science designed to feed and delight. This holds true for agrifood products in general, but in particular for wine where sensitivity to terroir creates a rich diversity.

Agriculture can have many purposes: production to obtain maximum yields, or production with emphasis on quality in order to develop the pleasure of taste and provide consumers with a certain level of food safety. This helps to maintain a strong image for the region and its producers.

We in Corbières have been focusing on quality and sincerity for more than half a century.

The Corbières AOC was created in 1985, and sits at the top of the classification pyramid established by the European Commission.

Modern-day producers in Corbières are profoundly aware of this reality and have opted for agriculture consistent with this recognition:

  • Choice and quality of grape varieties
  • Crop choices and quality
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Scientific awareness of environmental reality
  • Attachment to history and culture
  • Profound respect for consumers, constantly seeking authenticity and personality in our wines

All of these elements can only be achieved by ensuring perfect balance between the personal craft of every individual winemaker and the viticultural and oenological techniques used.

Our winegrowers know from experience that technique is there to serve wine (and thus consumers), rather than the other way around.

Our region has been home to agronomy and oenology consulting structures for more than 40 years. These support winemakers as they seek to refine and optimise their techniques, as well as in all elements relating to selling such a specific food product.

This proliferation of techniques at the heart of the world’s largest wine region gave rise to a new concept: a strong link between the data collected by agronomy and that from oenology so as to ensure a better understanding of the vine life cycle and its consequences for wine quality.

In addition, oenology laboratories now stand at the heart of producers’ quality policies, ensuring analytical monitoring and compliance with an extremely exhaustive and constantly changing list of parameters. Paired with systematic organoleptic testing, this monitoring ensures a high level of food safety.

More broadly and with the benefit of global expertise, wine production is surrounded by international regulations set out by the OIV, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.

In establishing these regulations, the OIV is constantly seeking to quantitatively and qualitatively limit vine and winemaking inputs.

The regulations are issued taking into account all scientific data regarding potential impact on the environment or on consumer health.

It is important to know that these regulations are much more restrictive and limiting than general agrifood regulations.

Oenology is a science and expertise designed to aid winemakers in their personal quest to express their terroir, adapted to consumer demand.

Oenological tools allow any potential grape imbalances to be corrected as and when required.

In Corbières, grape composition, wealth of antioxidant phenolic compounds and the risks associated with parasites mean that needs remain extremely limited. The wines’ SO2 (sulphur dioxide) content is in particular very low.

Summary

In a fragile natural environment, Corbières winegrowers conduct responsible winegrowing. They speak passionately about their work to those they meet. Committed to providing a rural welcome, they are proud of their environment and what they produce.

It is important to recognise the intrinsic wisdom of winegrowers: this wisdom prompts them to make reasoned and opportune technological choices in viticulture and oenology.

Enjoying global renown, the Corbières AOC has a sound and reassuring image. It speaks of origins and people. This is what consumers, what all of us want to hear.