Château Maris

THE BIODYNAMIC APOSTLES OF THE LANGUEDOC


The above title comes from the Wine Spectator magazine and represents perfectly the philosophy and the relentlessness effort of the domain to be a leader in biodynamic viticulture and non-interventionist winemaking. Château Maris is the only fully certified biodynamic estate in the AOC Minervois La Livinière . The team is proud of this success and endorse working methods that ensure the beauty of this place for future generations. Robert Eden, the winemaker behind this project, has built the world’s first hemp cellar and has clearly demonstrated that quality of the grapes, and thereby wines, can be significantly increased by advocating balance and adopting biodynamic viticulture.


When the vineyard was purchased in Languedoc, the initial yields were lower than expected. The soil was dead, due to the previous farmer’s overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, so Robert looked at ways of rejuvenating it, using compost.  Bio-dynamic preparations were added to one organic compost pile and another was left alone.  After a while the bio-dynamic pile contained far more living organisms so the decision was then made. They wanted the vines to grow healthier and grow longer – and of course improve the quality of grapes. Today, the entire estate is certified by both Demeter and Biodyvin. The fertilizer is compost made from local cow and sheep manure plus some horse manure.  Yields are 32 Hl/Ha on average and the entire estate is hand harvested. Chateau Maris is now a 79 acres Biodynamic and Organic Estate divided into a multitude of small vineyards on the hillside above the village of La Livinière, the first Cru Classé of the Minervois, in the Languedoc region.


Château Maris also owns work horses. Each year some plots are ploughed that way. Barley, bulgur and mustard is grown between rows and then re-ploughed into the soil, along with the organic compost, to enrich the land and avoid farming in mono-culture. The new winery is a thermodynamic recyclable vegetable building, which was built using a centuries old method, leveraging natural energy resources and biodynamic principals. Harmoniously built into the landscape the building produces as much energy as it consumes. Finally, the grapes, must and wines are moved around by gravity alone, meaning that every aspect of the winemaking is handled gently, allowing the domain to retain the inherent quality of the grapes and produce wines of outstanding quality and value.

Château Maris Wines

About the region

Le Minervois in Languedoc

A unique terroir in the wide region of Languedoc

The Minervois is a wine region of France straddles over the departments of Hérault and Aude. The vine arrived in this sub-region of Languedoc along with the Greek in the 6th century BC. The Mediterranean climate prevails with rainy autumns and winters and hot dry summers. Winds are ubiquitous in the region since the geographical terrain forms a north-south corridor. The Montagne Noire however protects the vineyards from the cold spring winds. There is also wind coming from the sea on the east side which is manifested mainly in summer and brings heat and humidity. The rivers that descend from the Montagne Noire left on their shores pebble terraces, sandstone, shale and limestone. Many of these stones are found in the vineyards of the region. The AOC Minervois spans nearly 60 km from the gates of Narbonne in the east to Carcassonne to the west, and 50 meters above sea level on the banks of the Canal du Midi up to 350 meters in Cassagnoles. The main grape varieties grown in the this AOC are Carignan, Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre. The wines can have a good aging potential and are often characterized as ample wines, soft and silky with flavors of ripe fruit. The region also produces a small amount of white wines and sweet wines which can sometimes surprise by their acidity and their complexity.

Since 1997, the Minervois appellation has its own cru: La Livinière. The area surrounds the village of the same name and has a unique terroir which allows the production of wines of higher quality. The vineyard is planted on a soil of limestone and clay from the Petit Causse, this cliffs which lies at an altitude of 140 meters at the foot of the Black Mountains. A precise delimitation of the cru was conducted with about 2,600 eligible hectares in Minervois La Livinière. Mourvedre and Syrah must represent a minimum of 40 % of the blend in the cru. On the other hand, Carignan and Cinsault must not represent more than 40% while Grenache can also be used in the blend.  The essence of the Minervois La Livinière often relies in a delicate blend of grapes to obtain subtle nuances and aromatic complexity.

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