The first vineyards at Domaine de Fontsainte, in the Corbieres appellation, were planted by the Romans. Artifacts found in these vineyards, such as an old coin dating from the time of Marcus Agrippa in 25 A.D., are a testament to its antiquity. The original domaine was built around a thermal spring, which was later named for the local, twelfth-century patron saint, Saint Simeon; hence Fontsainte—the saint’s fount. Yves Laboucarie’s family has been making wine here since the seventeenth century, and we were lucky to have met him so early on in his career. For over thirty years, KLWM has been proudly importing his wine, and now we work with his son, Bruno. Like his father, one of the first vignerons working with whole cluster fermentation in the region, he believes strongly in the family’s legacy of innovation. He has re-equipped the cellars, replanted new vines, and even added new cuvees.
The Fontsainte vineyards surround the hamlet of Boutenac in the area known as “The Golden Crescent.” This swath of land is one of the sunniest in the appellation of Corbieres, enjoying south-southeast exposure, and protection from the cold, northeast winds by a large 500-hectare forest. The cooler sea breezes from the Mediterranean help this sun-soaked terroir achieve balance as well. Like many of the vignerons that we work with, Bruno believes that “great wines are made in the vineyard” and less in the cellars. He farms the land sustainably and keeps treatments to a minimum. Silica, clay, and limestone dominate the subsoil of Fontsainte’s vineyards. Many of their vines are older, especially the parcel known as La Demoiselle, which recently celebrated its hundredth year. Look for the highly affordable and supremely delicious Gris de Gris, a saignee rose made from Grenache Gris—among the finest roses on the planet.