Domaine de Clovallon

10 ha
IGP Haute Vallée de L’Orb
Vin de France
Alix Roque

The Orb River runs for 135 kilometers from the Larzac Causses in Haut-Languedoc down to the Mediterranean Sea. Domaine de Clovallon is situated in the Haute Vallée de L’Orb which refers to a small stretch of the river valley that runs east to west with exposed hillsides and excellent southern exposure. Spanning geological periods from the primary to the quartenary, the Haute Vallée de L’Orb contains virtually every soil type found in France, and many of them are present in Clovallon’s 10 hectares.

To be in the company of Catherine Roque and her daughter Alix, is to be in the company of and feel the energy of passionate farmers. Catherine says that seeing the results of her bio-dynamic farming practices has greatly inspired her. In the vineyard, the Roques use fertilizer from their neighbor’s cows along with a mix of valerian and dolomite. In between the rows, the natural grasses are left to grow and Alix is contemplating buying a few sheep to help with the “mowing”. They already employ the help of their chickens. As non-interventionist winemakers, their wines naturally convey their respect for and delight in their land and vineyards.

Read Alix’s comments Languedoc Vintage Reports

Pinot Noir

The Clovallon vineyard is located outside of the village of Bedarieux in a small valley protected by some imposing dolomite cliffs. The vineyards are planted up to altitudes of 500 meters. Catherine Roque first planted Pinot Noir here in 1989. She has a few different parcels now, grown on different soils with different aspects. The harvesting is done manually and the wines are bottled without fining or filtering whenever possible. The “Domaine” Pinot Noir is produced from younger vines on red sandstone soils. Fermentation is done in vat with indigenous yeasts and no heating. The wine is matured for about six months in three year old barrels before bottling. Sulfur is added only at bottling and in a minimal dose. The Pinot Noir cuvee “Pomarèdes” is a two hectare parcel of 25 year old vines grown on dolomite chalk soils.

Les Aurièges

The cuvée Les Aurièges is a blend of seven grapes. The most important to the blend are Chardonnay, Petit Manseng and Reisling, but also included are Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Petite Arvine, a variety native to the Valais in Switzerland. The grapes are all harvested by hand and put whole into a stainless steel tank where they ferment slowly at a low temperature for 30 days. The grapes are then pressed and the press juice is blended with the free run juice and then put into barrels for a year before bottling.

Les Indigènes

The cuvee “Les Indigènes” is produced from a single “clos” of less than a hectare that was planted around two hundred years ago and retains pre-phylloxera vines. As was the custom “back in the day” the vineyard was co-planted with a wide variety of grape types both white and red. Most of the grapes have been identified and include Carignan, Cinsault, Clairette, Grenache, Grenache Blanc. Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Malvasia, Muscat a Petits Grains, Ugni Blanc, Aramon, Terret, and Jacquet. The clos itself sits high above the town of Bedarieux and is accessible only by a narrow lane that winds its way up from the town to the vineyard at the top of the hill. It is hidden from the eye because it is both walled and shielded by fruit trees. To gain entrance to the small vineyard one has to pass through an entrance gate and then a bit further on pass through a doorway framed by a stone arch giving the whole experience a “secret garden” quality. All varieties are co-fermented in old oak foudres using indigenous yeasts and without temperature control. The wine is unfiltered and unfined.




13 French Winemakers Presenting their Wines at a Dinner at Buck’s Fishing and Camping in Washington DC, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Husband and Wife Team M. Jean Francois Meynard and Christelle Gauthier from Chateau La Bouree, Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux

This was a very exciting winemaker dinner: With 13 visiting winemakers from all around France. It took place a Buck’s Fishing and Camping in the Chevy Chase area in Washington DC. The winemakers were in town for the annual portfolio tasting of Wine Traditions, an importer of French wines.

Ed and Barbara Addiss’ Wine Traditions

Wine Traditions: Created in 1996 by Edward Addiss and Barbara Selig, the philosophy of Wine Traditions is to discover independent winemakers whose passion for their vineyard and mastery of their winemaking craft combine to create a product that is a beautiful expression of the land from which it comes. They believe their portfolio demonstrates that wonderful wines can be found beyond well-known appellations and need not be overpriced. For them, wine is meant to be enjoyed with dinner, every day and at prices that make it an appropriate component of the meal.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Barbara Assiss, and Ed Assiss, Owners of Wine Traditions

Buck’s Fishing and Camping

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post: This arty and eclectic restaurant serves classic food made with the best ingredients. There are few local kitchens that do its familiar dishes better than Buck’s.

The 4 expertly prepared courses of American cuisine from Chef James Rexroad were indeed excellent.

Picture: Buck's Fishing and Camping on 5031 Connecticut Avenue, Washington DC

Owner James Alefantis, who told us that he also owns a restaurant in Berlin, Germany, is charming and welcoming as is his restaurant: We are a small, neighborhood independently owned Fish Camp of a restaurant, where a woody, fire lit atmosphere is a great place to enjoy the best local produce, meats and fish.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, Christian G.E. Schiller and Owner James Alefantis

See: 3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

Winemaker Dinner with 13 Producers from France

At this totally unique event, after a Champagne and oyster welcome, the 13 French winemakers were on hand to present their wines. We had the opportunity to select one of three wines with each of the 4-courses to pair side-by-side with Buck's beautiful menu.

Pictures: The Dinner


Oysters on the 1/2 Shell, Warm Gougeres, and Selection of Saucisson

Bourdaire-Gallois, Brut Champagne NV

First Course

House Applewood Smoked Salmon with its Roe

3 Wines and 3 Winemakers

Pictures: Brigitte Ardurats, Felix Debavelaere and Katia Mauroy-Gauliez, and their Wines

Chateau Magneau, Graves Blanc 2012

Brigitte and Jean-Louis Ardurats: Winemakers/ Owners of Chateau Magneau, a beautiful Graves producer in the south of Bordeaux. The Graves region is often referred to as 'the cradle of Bordeaux wine' and has been described as a beauty asleep in her woods and forests. We were delighted to taste their Graves Rouge.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Brigitte and Jean-Louis Ardurats, Winemakers/ Owners of Chateau Magneau

Domaine de Bel Air Pouilly-Fume 2012

Owner/ Winemaker Katia Mauroy-Gauliez from Domaine de Bel Air hails from the Loire Valley where the Sauvignon Blanc grape thrives. Katia Mauroy-Gauliez and her brother Cedric Mauroy are the ninth generation to manage Domaine de Bel Air. Their 15 acres of vineyards straddle the towns of Pouilly-sur-Loire and Saint Andelain. Pouilly-Fume is one of the Loire Valley’s most famous wines – a quintessential expression of flinty, vivacious Sauvignon Blanc.

Domaine Rois Mages "Les Cailloux" Rully Rouge 2011

Anne-Sophie Debavelaere, a native Burgundian, began her Domaine in 1984. 5 years ago, her son, Felix Debavelaere, who was sitting next to me at the dinner, took over. He now farms 11 hectares of vines which are mostly in Rully, but include small parcels in Bouzeron and Beaune. The vineyards are all worked with respect for the land in a fashion known as "lutte raisonnée". The winery or "cave de vinification" is a vaulted cellar which was dug from the Rully hillside in 1850. It was originally built by a local negociant who wanted to have a cellar for sparkling wine similar to those in Champagne.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Felix Debavelaere

Second Course

Wild Local Mushrooms with Tagliatelle Pasta and Herbs

3 Wines and 3 Winemakers

Pictures: Samuelle Delol, Elisabeth Billard, Michel Champseix with Ed Addiss

Domaine Billard Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc 2012

Winemaker Elisabeth and Jerome Billard, Domaine Billard have 12.5 hectares of vineyards in different appellations throughout the Cotes de Beaune. Their largest holdings are in the Hautes Cotes de Beaune with other small plots located in Saint Romain, Saint Aubin 1er Cru, Auxey Duresses and Beaune.

Chateau Vieux Chevrol Lalande de Pomerol 2009

The Champseix family has made wine at Château Vieux Chevrol for many generations and continues to do so in a traditional manner. Jean-Pierre Champseix runs the estate today (20 hectares), aided by his son Michel. He has a profound respect and veneration for his land, a relationship that truly guides his work. The vineyard lies on the Neac plateau overlooking the vineyards of Pomerol. The soil is clay mixed with gravel and iron-rich sandstone known locally as "crasse de fer". The vineyard is planted to 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Picture: Jean-Pierre Champseix, Château Vieux Chevrol, Lalonde de Pomerol, and Christian G. E. Schiller

Chateau Gueyrosse Saint Emilion 2003

Winemaker Samuelle Delol, owns two estates Chateau Bel Air and Chateau Gueyrosse in St. Emilion. Chateau Gueyrosse dates from around 1750 and the Delol family obtained the property in 1850. Samuelle, who has recently taken over from her father, is the sixth generation to make wine at Gueyrosse. The vineyard is in the southwestern corner of Saint Emilion, on the outskirts of Libourne and has a soil of "graves rouge", a soil type similar to that found in the southern corner of Pomerol.

Third Course

Magret Duck Steaks with a Frisee Salad of Duck Cracklins and Farm Poached Egg

3 Wines and 3 Winemakers

Pictures: Ed Addiss, Dominique Ressès, Christelle Gauthier and Catherine Roque, and their Wines

Chateau La Bourree Cotes de Castillon 2011

The husband and wife team M. Jean Francois Meynard and Christelle Gauthier, who were sitting next to me at the dinner, own 4 chateaux with a total vineyard area of 40 hectares. Chateau La Bouree extends over 10 hectares. The vineyard is planted with 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The yields are kept to 45h/hl by green harvesting and leaves are pulled as needed to insure proper ripening. Fermentation on the skins lasts for three weeks after which the wine is aged in used barrels for a year

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours and the husband and Wife Team M. Jean Francois Meynard and Christelle Gauthier, Bordeaux

Chateau La Caminade Commandery Cahors 2009

Dominique Ressès: The Chateau La Caminade vineyards (34 hectares) lie in Parnac, in the heart of the Cahors region. The vineyard covers a variety of soil types including gravelly sand and clay/limestone. The Ressès family has been making wine here for four generations.

One of my early posting were about Dominique Ressès and his beautiful wines: The Wines of Chateau La Caminade in the Cahors, France - Malbec from its Birthplace

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Dominique Ressès, Cahor

Mas D'Alezon Presbytere Faugeres 2012

Catherine Roque, Languedoc, is owner and winemaker of Mas d'Alezon and Domaine du Clovallon. Catherine says that seeing the results of bio-dynamic farming practices has greatly inspired her. Both of her estates are in Languedoc.

Fourth Course

A Selection of 3 Regional Cheeses

3 Wines and 3 Winemakers

Pictures: Julien Teulier, Laurent Charrier, Jean-Marc Grussaute and Ed Assiss, and their Wines

Camin Larredya La Part Davan Jurancon Sec 2012

Jean-Marc Grussaute: The Grussautes have a small but remarkable vineyard (9 hectares) situated in the Chapelle de Rousse area of Jurançon. The word "Camin" used instead of Domaine is the local dialect for chemin or road.

The majority of the vineyard, planted by Jean-Marc’s father 40 years ago, is terraced and lies on steep and curved slopes that form an amphitheater. The vineyard is planted to 60% Petit Manseng and 37% Gros Manseng and 3% Petit Courbu. Jean-Marc Grussaute began estate bottling in 1988. He has farmed organically since 2007 with the first certified vintage being 2010. Jean-Marc names his wines after the vineyard parcels from which they come.

The Jurançon Sec which is called La Part Davan, blends two thirds Gros Manseng with Petit Manseng and a small quantity of Petit Courbu.. The wine undergoes a "maceration pellicullaire" before fermentation in stainless steel tanks and foudres. The wine then is kept "sur lie" for at least six months.

Picture: Jean-Marc Grussaute and Christian G.E. Schiller

Domaine du Pas Saint Martin Jurassique Saumur Blanc 2011

Domaine du Pas Saint Martin is set among troglodyte caves formed out of ancient fossilized marine life that covered the Saumur region 10 million years ago. During the Middle Ages these caves served the Protestants as secret places of worship.

Laurent Charrier and his mother run the domaine which is a certified organic farm. Laurent’s father was not interested in producing wine and thus in 1994 when Laurent took over the responsibility of the domaine, he picked up where his grandfather had left off. He immediately set out to acquire certification for organic farming which he received in 1997. The family vineyards are a bit spread out with small holdings in Anjou and Coteaux du Layon in addition to their primary vineyard in Saumur. The average age of the vines is 25 years with a good part being older than 35 years. Vinification is carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats.

Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Pais Marcillac 2012

Winemaker Julien Teulier: Deliciously fruity red wine from Marcillac, first used to quench the thirst of pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Santiago di Compostella, and then miners from nearby coalfields. Made from the local fer servadou grape from a vineyard that was saved from extinction by a handful of dedicated growers in Southwest France.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Julien Teulier


Tanis Bark and Fresh Ginger Wafers

Wine Traditions is excited to announce several new producers to our portfolio.

We are now offering selections from the Languedoc from Catherine Roche's two properties Mas d'Alezon in Faugeres and Domaine Clovallon in the Vallée de l'Orb, from Le Bouc a Trois Pattes in the Haute Vallée de l'Orb and from Thierry Forestier of Domaine Mont de Marie in Souvignargues in the eastern Coteaux de Languedoc.

In Beaujolais we welcome Domaine du Cret de Bine making wine in Sarcey the southern part of of the appellation and Domaine Foretal in the commune of Vauxrenard in the heart of Upper Beaujolais. And in neighboring Maconnais Domaine les Grands Crays in Viré-Clessé and Romuald Petit making Bourgogne Chardonnay in Saint-Vérand.

Find out more about these producers and their wines on their own pages on this site!

Region: Languedoc-Roussillon

Vineyards of antiquity – if any viticultural region of France has claim to being the oldest, the Greek vineyards around Agde that date to the 5th century BC and the discovery of pre-historic fossils of grapevines in caves outside of Montpellier give the Languedoc quite the hand to play. Geographically, this expansive area reaches from Limoux to Costières de Nîmes linking the appellations of Southwest France with those of the Rhone Valley. It is sandwiched between the Massif Central mountains, the Pyrénées mountains, and the Mediterranean Sea.  Not surprisingly, the varied areas of the Languedoc have strikingly different terroirs with vineyards pushing up against mountain ranges with vines as high as 500 meters, vines planted along the Mediterranean coastal plains and seemingly endless scrubland in between. In addition to a range of terroirs that span geological periods from the primary to the quaternary, and include virtually every soil type found in France, there are significant differences in rainfall, humidity, sun-hours and wind that shape the typicity of the individual vineyards...

Known for producing massive quantities of “vin ordinaire” in the mid nineteenth century, the Languedoc vineyards, like so many others throughout France, were wiped out by phylloxera by the end of the century. Despite the efforts of the government and the growers to form coops in the first half of the 20th century, the vineyards were slow to come back, and it wasn’t until the 1970’s and 1980’s that the Languedoc renaissance came about. Now, it is certainly a breeding ground for alternative minded vintners; the spirit of independence coming probably from the Occitan roots of the region and the fact that the area lagged behind other wine producing regions in receiving recognition for its wines.

It is a region that with few exceptions has significantly less rain fall than other wine producing regions in France, making it easier to farm organically. Furthermore, the Languedoc vintners have turned to both bio-dynamic farming and “natural” winemaking in surprising numbers. These choices have been encouraged by the comradery and solidarity that is evident among the local vintners of each village.