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.
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