The first area, on the Mediterranean coast, has a climate... Mediterranean (no kidding?), where the humidity of the coastal air compensates for the low rainfall in the region. The second area, is located more in the hinterland, where the vineyard is protected from humid winds by mountains, therefore drier with soils composed of clay, limestone and schist. The vinification is traditionally done and is then aged in oak barrels for a few years, resulting in late harvests.
The Fitou's colour is dark in its youth, good vintages can be recognised by their amber reflections that they take on with time. On the nose, the carignan, marked by the presence of tannins, sometimes appears with vanilla aromas. Finally, on the palate, after a year of waiting, the wines are powerful and remind us of red fruit and garrigue scents with a touch of spices such as pepper, as well as aromatic scents of toast and leather. Supple, elegant and marked by its roundness, it can be enjoyed as a table wine accompanied by cold meats, red or white meat.
The AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) Fitou is linked to a small part of the Corbières massif. The producers work with Carignan and other grape varieties to offer only red wine. Spread over a fairly large area, the production area yields 93,000 hectolitres of wine each year.
The Fitou appellation is divided in two
It is in the south of the Corbières massif, in the department of Aude, that you will find the Fitou appellation. More precisely, it is located between the towns of Narbonne and Perpignan. This vineyard is special because it is divided in two and a 20 km space separates each part.
The first subdivision is located east of the farm. It is spread over small hills near the Leucate and Fitou ponds. It is considered as a stony, windy and dry area. The second half of the appellation is nestled in the Corbières massif, in the hinterland. It surrounds the basin of Tuchan-Paziols and is close to the commune of Villeneuve-des-Corbières.
The AOC Fitou produces outstanding wines thanks to its different types of soil. The vineyard of the eastern part is planted on a shallow soil composed of limestone and pebbles. The vineyard of the second half benefits from a terroir where schist and sandstone limestone dominate.
This part of the Aude is subject to a Mediterranean-type climate. The east of the vineyard is therefore entitled to mild winters and droughts in summer. The proximity of the sea brings a certain humidity. The part of the vineyard located in the massif has a rocky barrier. It is therefore drier.
Fitou red wines have interesting characteristics
In the Fitou AOC, black grape varieties are dominant. Producers plant carignan, a grape plant that comes from Spain and which grows perfectly in this part of the Aude. They also work with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Since 2008, the production area can also use secondary grape varieties: cinsault and lledoner pelut N.
In order to obtain such characteristic Fitou wines, winemakers use traditional techniques. Over several years, they age the drinks in oak barrels. This is how they obtain powerful and wild products.
Fitou wines can be recognized by their dark colour in their early youth. Later, they take on an intense ruby red colour. Older drinks take on orange and amber tints.
In the early stages, the reds give off scents of red fruits and spices such as pepper. Some even have vanilla notes. Later, smells of prune, toast or leather appear. On the palate, in the first months, these wines are quite wild. As they age, they reveal flavours of ripe fruit and toasted dried fruit.
A visit to a vineyard allows you to learn more about the Fitou AOC.
Would you like to buy Fitou wines and find out more about their production? Rendezvous at Domaine Grand Guilhem in Cascatel-des-Corbières. You will discover natural and certified organic wines. You will also learn a lot about grape growing and processing in this part of France.
After you buy Fitou wines, you wonder which pairings to choose? Here are a few ideas. Be aware that these wines make good companions with red meat, different kinds of game or delicatessen meats.
They also go well with typical dishes such as cassoulet or Languedoc snails. Wines from the east of the farm sublimate an eel pinhata. You can also treat yourself to a wild boar stew, picoulat bolas or eggs with peppers.