Portraits Vignerons - Domaine Mamaruta :  j’ai converti le vignoble en Bio et je suis parti sur des vinifications naturelles - Les Grappes

Domaine Mamaruta: "I converted the vineyard to organic farming and started with natural winemaking".

Marc Castan is the winemaker of the Mamaruta estate, in the communes of La Palme and Leucate, in Languedoc Roussillon. He took over his grandfather's 14 hectares of vines. "I continued to work for 7 years in the cooperative cellar where he was. In 2008, I left the cellar to make my first vintages in 2009," says Marc. Leaving the cooperative cellar is an opportunity for a new start and a new horizon. For Marc, it is the access to freedom: "Being a winemaker gives me the freedom to do what I want when I want.

"The more we progress, the more elegant and mineral the wines become", underlines Marc Castan.

"I worked for 7 years with chemicals. I worked with chemicals for seven years until I got really fed up," Marc recalls. "I took the plunge in 2008, when I left the cooperative cellar, converted the vineyard to organic and started to use natural vinification". A big change for the young winemaker who could no longer find himself in the cooperative environment. By leaving, he regained his freedom. "Now, I can work as I want", says Marc, "that is to say, I can get closer to nature in order to restore living soils. I listen to each vine, they must be in harmony with what surrounds them.

A work philosophy that requires a lot of work in the vineyards, and as the winemaker rightly points out: "if we do a lot of work in the vineyard, it's a shame to kill everything by reusing chemicals in the cellar." An unstoppable logic that leads Marc to natural winemaking, without yeast, without fining, without sulfur ....

And the results are there! For the winemaker: "We see the differences vintage after vintage. The more we progress, the more elegant and mineral the wines become.

The wines of the Mamaruta estate: freshness and fruit

Like any good winemaker, Marc's goal is to have the most beautiful and healthy grapes possible. "Like that, in winemaking, it's done by itself," smiles the winemaker.

In these southern French terroirs, it is not easy for winemakers to favor fresh fruit and freshness in the wines. But Marc manages, with a lot of observation and passion to find solutions. "I harvest very early in the year, usually 3 weeks before everyone else. I don't do ripeness control in the laboratory, I taste the grapes and when they have a firm and juicy flesh, I start harvesting. This allows me to get some acidity in the wines."

The degrees remain relatively high on these sun-drenched terroirs, with red wines at 13, 14, even 15 in potential degree. But thanks to the acidity, the wines of Domaine Mamaruta remain very digestible, they are not weighed down by alcohol.

To promote freshness, I do not do long macerations and I do very little extraction," says the winemaker.

"We are in a seaside area which is very good for white wines", Marc Castan

Leucate is a region of red wines: clay-limestone soils, a Mediterranean climate, traditions and know-how too. "We are in a very arid, very hot area with a lot of tramontane.But I also noticed many differences between the vines planted on the garrigue terroirs, which are more sunny; the vines on the edge of the sea, which have an iridescent side.tangs which have an iodine and saltiness to them; and the vines on Leucate, planted on a limestone cliff which makes more acidic and harder wines" explains Marc."The sea entries bring freshness and acidity to the wines, and we are in a seaside area that is very good for white wines. Marc wants to expand the white wine portion of his estate by introducing Spanish grape varieties that he likes.

"We would like to bring back diversity," says Marc Castan.

Marc is looking beyond his estate to his territory: "We are in a rather monotonous village on the plain where all the hedges have been pulled out. We are trying to bring back a little more life, insects and animals," Marc enthuses.

To do this, the Mamaruta estate plans to develop polyculture. For several years now, Marc has been reintroducing hedges by planting fruit trees. He would like to go further, thinking of olive trees and herds of cows. "We already have some animals. In winter, they graze in the vineyards. We are thinking about developing this axis a little bit", confides the winegrower.

A look at the 2017 vintage of the Mamaruta estate

Marc Castan is a winemaker among enthusiasts, pragmatic, thoughtful, he moves forward according to his desires while enjoying his freedom. The result of this incredible work is successful vintages, like the 2017 vintages. Some are still in barrels, others are about to be bottled. They are, in any case, all very promising: "the 2017 vintage is a small vintage, but the juices are really very good. They are fresh and have a lot of fruit" We can't wait to taste them!

To find out more about the Mamaruta estate wines on Les Grappes, it's here.

Manon Mouly (for Les Grappes)

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