Chateau Massiac

Massiac-logo Day 6 - Massiac vineyard 2 MASSIAC-MINERVOIS-2005
History of DomaineWinesTech SheetGalleryLabels
We were referred to Bernard Boudouresques, the proprietor of this rustic estate situated in the heart of the Minervois, by the Gibert family of Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie, our source of wines from the Corbieres district. Massiac and Faillenc are about 25 minutes distance, one from the other, along a series of pleasant, winding country roads and they share a rewarding simplicity in their approach to producing wines of character with a strong local identity.

The Chateau Massiac has a long history that dates back to the Roman Empire when this area was colonized by the Romans using the nearby Mediterranean port (30 kilometers) of Narbonne as an access point. In the 17th Century, two brothers from Massiac in the Auvergne region traversed the area in service to the King of Spain and eventually settled at this spot situated almost precisely halfway between the clock towers of the villages of Azille and Rieux Minervois. During the French Revolution, the “chateau” was burned to the ground.

Bernard Boudouresques and his family recently revived the domaine, planting vineyards and converting the estate to organic viticulture. Production from the estate is now (2012) certified organic. Massiac encompasses 21.5 hectares of vineyards, 8.5 of which produce the Minervois Rouge and 5 of which are the source for the two white wines classified as Vin de Pays d’Oc. The domaine lies at the extreme south of the Massif Centrale, effectively in the gently sloping foothills that lead to the Mediterranean coast which is not terribly distant. The subsoils are essentially limestone and clay with silex and marble infusions, all of which was formed during the Lutecian geologic era. This soil has particularly good drainage which accounts for the superior concentration that Massiac achieves in its wines. As well, the site is exposed both the winds that sweep north from the Mediterranean and the cooling northwest wind coming from the mountains known as Le Cers which consistently dries the vineyard and makes it less vulnerable to the maladies of the vine. At the moment (this is written in early 2012), Massiac bottles approximately 55,000 bottles of wine per annum.

MASSIAC-SAUVIGNON-2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d’Oc: The harvest of the white grapes is conducted in the early morning hours when the weather is still cool so that the beginning moments of fermentation can be closely controlled. The fermentation occurs in tank as does the elevage. The wine rests on the fine lies with occasional batonnage being done before the wine is bottled during the spring following the harvest. The result is a crisp, dry white with distinct Sauvignon varietal character. Harvest levels of the Sauvignon have proven to be extremely variable so that our purchases can vary dramatically year to year (3600 to 6000 bottles per vintage). Certified Organic.
MASSIAC-VIOGNIER-2006 Viognier, Vin de Pays d’Oc: The Viognier cuvée is handled in a manner precisely similar to that of the Sauvignon Blanc: early morning harvest to take advantage of the cool morning hours, fermentation and elevage in tank, contact with the fine lies and some batonnage; bottling takes place during the spring season following harvest. The Viognier yields are in the neighborhood of 50 hectoliters per hectare. We purchase in the neighborhood of 7200 bottles annually. Certified Organic.
MASSIAC-MINERVOIS-cuvee-sentinelle Minvervois Rouge Cuvée Sentinelle: The “Sentinelle” cuvée is the more precocious of the two reds produced at Massiac. The tannins are more supple and the fruit a touch “sweeter”, more forward and less rustic than its companion. Fermentation and elevage are in tank. The wine is bottled within a year of the harvest. The blend is usually two-thirds Syrah and one-third Carignan. Somewhere between 9,000 and 10,500 bottles are reserved for us for the US market. Certified Organic.
MASSIAC-MINERVOIS-2005 Minervois Rouge Chateau Massiac: This is the most important wine of the estate, a serious red vinified to reflect its capacity to age. The grapes are harvested at a point of slight “surmaturité” which captures the profound scents and flavors of the surrounding hillside “garrigue”. The cuvaison continues for at least a month; then, the wine is racked into tank for aging. The wine is bottled twenty to twenty-four months after harvest. As the wine ages in bottle, it develops enticing notes of juniper, rosemary and thyme as well as the savory flavors of wild berries and a hint of the “animal” … all in all, one of the more compelling values in our portfolio. Depending on harvest levels, we purchase between 9,000 and 12,000 bottles per vintage. Certified Organic.
Download Massiac tech sheet
How many years has the family owned the domaine?1988
How many generations?0
How many hectares of vines are leased?0
How many hectares of vines are owned?25 HECTARES
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? When?The domain is ISO 14001-certified. It is an environmental management system which aims at identifying, at improving and at mastering all the environmental aspects induced by the activity of the domain The vineyard is certified Lutte Raisonee.
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).Our ISO certification is based on : Better sodding. Encourage zones rich in biodiversity around the plots.
Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse?Restrain the irrigation water. Preserve the natural resources
Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning?Mechanical work for only 20-25%, the other part is made by hand
How do you fertilize?Controll the production during the pruning. It’s also controlled during the planting. We choose less productive clones, so they consume less water. Green harvest is so exceptional. We think the leaf-thinning is not necessary. In spring, we spread organic fertilizer. In Autumn we spread grape marc compost into the young vines.
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.No
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac?Yes between 30 and 50%
AppellationMinervois. IGP pays d’OC
Cepage/UvaggioSyrah, Grenache, mourvedre en AOP. Sauvignon, Viognier, Marselan en IGP
%ABVBetween 13 and 14% by vol
# of bottles produced60 000 bottles per year
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsChâteau Massiac. Domaine de Massiac
Exposures and slope of vineyardsWest and north-west exposure
Soil Types(s)Clay, silt, sand
Average vine age (per vineyard)25 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)4000 to 5000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)Early September to mid-October
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGEHot and very dry year (250 mm of rainfall between October 2015 and October 2016)
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Mediterranean climate : mild winters with rains which can be important in Autumn and at the end of winter. Dry periods in summer
% whole cluster, % destemmed100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeFermentation in concrete tank for reds. Fermentation in stainless steel vat for whites.
Duration of cuvaison3 to 4 weeks for reds. 15 days for whites
Duration of contact with lees2 months for whites
Select or indigenous yeast?Select yeasts
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. For château Massiac : many racks and returns at the beginning of fermentation, then pumping-over at the end of fermentation.
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:Malolactic fermentation with grape marc
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationFor Sentinelle I prefer the pumping-over with low temperature of fermentation. Malolactic fermentation start after the pressing. The press wines are blended if the vintage is good. For whites : they are picked during the freshest hours of the day. They are pressed, then settled for 48 to 72 hours at low temperature and without oxygen. Fermentation at low temperature for 10 to 15 days. The wines are racked and aged on lees with regular batonnage. This operation help to balance the alcohol with the acidity of the wine
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Concrete tank
Duration of elevage18 months for château Massiac. 6 months for Sentinelle and whites
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market1 month
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeFining with gum arabic for Sentinelle. Before bottling : plate filtration for reds. Sterilizing filtration for whites
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?For reds, we add sulfur just after the end of malolactic fermentation, before the summer (with analysis) and before the bottling. For whites, we add sulfur at picking time, for the pressing and settling, then at the end of the fermentation and before bottling. In general, we use 40 to 50% of the SO2 doses authorized in France
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Château Massiac 2016 : Black fruits and spices notes. On the palate, good structure and persistancy. Sentinelle 2016 : volume and silky intensity. Sauvignon : good typicity with ample mouth. Viognier : in this moment, peach notes
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