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Domaine Ortola

Article: September 2018

Carte AOC Languedoc quatourze

Region : Languedoc

Appellation : AOC Languedoc Quatourze

Winegrowers : Ortola family

Area : 110 hectares

Grape varieties : 45% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan

          15% Vermentino, 5% Viognier, Roussane, Grenache blanc

Climate : Mediterranean

Labels : Organic farming, Demeter (biodynamic), HVE (High Environmental Value)

The Languedoc Quatourze appellation

Located south of Narbonne on clay-limestone and rolled pebble soils facing the Bages pond and close to the Mediterranean Sea , this appellation has existed since 1951. The AOC Languedoc Quatrouze faces La Clape, a renowned appellation located on the other side of the valley. The grape variety is mainly focused on Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre. 
The climate is Mediterranean , more than 220 sunny days per year . The north wind is dominant, this dry north wind protects against diseases such as mildew and in summer the sea breeze, fresh and iodized, limits temperature rises and contributes to the well-being of the vines.

The domain

The Ortola family has acquired several Domains over time and over 4 generations, now comprising 110 hectares. On the Quatourze: Château Notre Dame du Quatourze in 1964, Château Tapie in 1983, Château de Lunes in 1988, Château YMYS in 2014 and in Canet d'Aude an IGP OC estate. To date Suzanne and Georges Ortola and their children Hélène and Nelson have been cultivating their vines organically certified by Ecocert since 2008 and according to the principles of Biodynamics certified by Demeter . The consideration of the environmental footprint is certified by the HVE label.  


Areas close to each other limit movement and form protected islands. The manure is only based on cow and horse manure. Pest treatments are based on copper sulfur and above all biodynamic preparations, liquid manure or extract of fermented plants (nettle, comfrey, fern, horsetail ...) and herbal teas. Conservation agriculture for living soils is also at the center of the project. All the rows of vines are grassed in the fall with legumes such as field beans, peas and  vetch and mixed grasses such as barley and oats.  These plant covers are rolled up at the end of May and form a Munch which nourishes the soil organisms and protects it from evaporation and the sun.  The result is there (early September 2018): the soil is loose, alive and the vines in superb health with beautiful grapes approaching maturity.

Label Demeter
Label Bio
Vignes Ortola face à la Clape
Cuvée la Main de l'Homme, Ortola
Raisins à maturité
Famille Ortola & Co
Georges Ortola
Vignes Ortola à maturité
Feuille de vigne
Terre Argilo calcaire
Chèvres et annes de la famille Ortola
Famille Ortola en pleines vendanges

To harvest, wake up at 2 a.m.  in the morning, it stings! But this allows the grapes to be picked "in the fresh" in order to keep them naturally until the following crushing in the morning. The freshness of the night prevents the oxidation of the grape which then preserves its aromatic qualities. Finally, all the vinifications are done without added sulphites and it is only after fermentation and just before bottling to protect the wines that very low doses of sulphites can be added for some wines and no added sulphites for others. .

And these efforts are paying off: the 2018 harvest promises to be good once again at Ortola.
I was able to test in preview the juice of Vermentino (Mediterranean white grape) harvested overnight and freshly pressed: A panoply of aromas ranging from grapes, to white peach and pear.


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