DOMAINE LES CREISSES - VALROS - AOP LANGUEDOC - FRANCE
Domaine les Creisses is a family domain, founded in the 19th century, has been vinifying beautiful wines every year for more than 110 years in its historic Languedoc cellar. Three generations succeed each other in the twentieth century.
In 1998 Philippe Chesnelong was given the opportunity to take over the management of the family vineyards. Philippe initially combined his job as a lawyer with running Domaine des Creisses, but he realized that some time had to be invested in the project. Despite the fact that the previous generations had been growing wine consecutively for more than 100 years, Philippe wanted to distinguish himself somewhere and immediately raised the bar for himself. He wanted and would in time serve us one of the best Mediterranean aging wines and for this he called on the genius input of his cousin Louis Mitjavile, son of François Mitjavile, who in turn is known for Château Tertre Roteboeuf in Saint-Emilion. Louis's vinification talent and his good insights into the maturation phase of the wine have contributed to the fact that today's French star businesses are eagerly awaiting the annual release.
Numerous wineries, also in the Languedoc, can speak for themselves... the annual struggle to color neatly within the lines of the 'cahier des charges' to which appellations so firmly adhere. The rules prescribed by the decree undoubtedly favor the authenticity of the product, but the associated restrictions are often in stark contrast to the passion for the profession that reigns high in the winegrower's heart. A translation of an old Japanese saying once attracted attention and reads: "the bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists". Well, people in the Languedoc understand that very well! Just the opportunity to work with a range of cépages within a framework that allows sufficient freedom to make trade-offs according to the situation that arises is one of the great advantages of viticulture in this region. It enables the winemaker here to always bring out a beautiful expression that is attuned to the possibilities that the millésime contains.
Domaine des Creisses is located in the municipality of Valros which is part of the arrondissement of Béziers. It comes under the department of Hérault and is located 6 kilometers west of Pézenas, which in the past always played an important trading role and served as the capital of the Languedoc during glorious times. Surrounded by mountains and water, the grapes enjoy a Mediterranean climate here, which means that achieving optimal fruit maturity meets with little resistance. The selected grape varieties can tolerate the heat well and the diversity of the substrate also ensures that the right grape can be planted in the right place to promote the necessary freshness. Originally it started from a clay-lime plateau of 11 hectares with a stony deep bottom, but there are still about 20 hectares that are now in full development and are located on gravel slopes. The clay has the crucial function in this environment that the roots can adhere firmly and the water is retained so that the summer can be bridged without risking drought stress.
The entire grape range (mourvèdre, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, syrah, carignan and cinsault) is divided into only two titles, namely Les Creisses and Les Brunes, using the assembly technique. The latter refers to the brown soil of volcanic origin, which above all reveals the true power of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre.
In the vineyard, the focus is on short spore pruning, albeit in different forms. For example, the Gobelet method is applied to the old Grenache, while the rest grows according to the cordon de Royat. For better soil integrity, a grass cover was applied at a regularity of one in two rows. In combination with the use of organic fertilizers, Philippe Chesnelong and his team strive for an optimal ecological balance. The vines are treated as little as possible and therefore only receive protection in extremely difficult conditions. The practices used have since been confirmed by the HVE certificate (Haute Valeur Environnementale).
Before the cuvaison, all grapes are stripped of their stems, after which a long maceration starts that can last up to 25 days. Aging on French oak takes 12 to 18 months. The intended result for both cuvées is a pleasantly supple wine supported by low acids and a fine tannin structure resulting from a perfect maitrise around the phenolic maturity. The southern spiciness, more specifically the typical garrigue touch, is certainly present but seems to subtly share its place with the quality of the fruit. Both 'Les Creisses' and 'Les Brunes' are made to face a positive evolution in the bottle.
The wines of the Languedoc have had to live on a poor image for a long time. Due to the negative association with cheap bulk wine coming from a large wine lake, it has not always been easy to stand out as a producer of premium wines. After thorough restructuring and the implementation of new technologies, this region has received a significant boost and has proven that serious viticulture can also be done in these regions, as long as the wine grower plays his part in closely observing and adequately interpreting the terroir. The charming wines of Domaine des Creisses are real stars and thus only advance the worthy representation of their area!