France: Languedoc Roussillon

Around Narbonne

The wines of the Corbières and Fitou areas
By Richard James

This Guide was last updated on 03 February 2010
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Domaine les Enfants Sauvages

Address: 10-12 Rue Gilbert Salamo 11510 Fitou
Tel: 04 68 45 69 75 
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 42:53:33N (42.89262)    Longitude: 2:58:30E (2.97491) 

The ’wild children’, aka Carolin and Nikolaus Bantlin and sons (not so savage actually), have a little cellar underneath their house up the hill in the village of Fitou, although their wild-child vineyards lie just over the hills in the Roussillon. Carolin and Nikolaus' tale is the kind of ’wine love story’ you’ve heard before but worth telling again. They fell for a beautiful place frozen in time, which was the catalyst for leaving their native Germany and settling in this area in 1999. They bought a few parcels of vineyards surrounded by scented scrubland a few kilometres inland from Fitou and an old house in the village, which was refitted in 2004 to accommodate a new cellar. Like many young couples turned independent growers, they decided to tend the 8ha of vines that came with the land as naturally as possible right from the start, using that ’new-old approach’, as they call it, and by extension a minimalist winemaking touch. They’ve since achieved their goal of becoming certified organic, as well as practising certain biodynamic farming methods. Having been co-op growers from 2001-02 and waving goodbye to their treasured grapes, they took the plunge, went back to wine school and fused a mini-winery into their home. Thankfully, otherwise their delicious wines might not ever have seen the light of day. Favourites include a well-balanced barrel-fermented white made from Carignan blanc, Grenache blanc and Grenache Gris; and a slightly odd, but it works, full-bodied, also barrel-fermented Grenache rosé. From their reds, you certainly can’t go wrong with the Roi des Lézards (Carignan-Grenache-Mourvèdre blend), and they also make a very aromatic and refreshing, sweet Muscat.

Useful information: Call or email in advance as they spend a lot of time out in the vineyards.


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