Domaine de Fontsainte Corbieres Reserve La Demoiselle 2003
Domaine de Fontsainte is in the heart of the Corbieres' celebrated 'Golden Crescent' - one of the appellation’s most beautiful and beneficent terroirs. Fontsainte's intensely sunny, gently sloping, south south-east facing vineyards shelter from cold north-east winds on the flank of a 500-hectare pinewood massif. The domain dominates the landscape around the hamlet of Boutenac, enjoying panoramic views. Fontsainte's vineyards, just 90m in altitude, benefit from a pristine environment (far from industrial or urban developments) plus alternating Mediterranean and oceanic influences.
Roman artifacts found on the domain - like the bronze coin bearing the head of Marcus Agrippa (c. 25AD) that adorns our Centurion wine - attest to Fontsainte's ancient origins: a Roman officer created the domain around a thermal spring. The name Fontsainte ('the saint's fount') comes from the nearby 12th century Hermitage of Saint-Simeon, who became the patron saint of Boutenac. Two chateaux dominated the landscape in the middle ages: Fort Haut and Fort Bas. Only the latter remains today - it’s now the headquarters of the Corbieres' winegrowers syndicat.
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.