Wednesday 11 February 2009

White Corbières anyone?

Corbières is known for its rugged, full-throttle reds so it is unusual to come across a producer who has built a reputation on the quality of its white wines. Domaine Roque Sestière is a small, family domaine, owned by Roland and Isabelle Lagarde, who make approximately 60,000 bottles a year, of which 70% is white. It was Isabelle’s father who created the domaine’s reputation for white wine and it has been proudly carried on by his daughter and son-in-law since taking over the domaine in 1994. 

The wine was first made in Ouveillan but the Lagardes have built a small but perfectly formed chai next to their house in the neighbouring village of Luc St Orbieu. The vineyards are still in Ouveillan but Roland has dramatically reduced the hectarage from 30 to 15 which gives him much more control over production and means he only needs to employ one worker.

When I visited in mid December, Roland was very preoccupied getting ready for bottling his 2008 whites. As I tasted the 2008 whites from tank he was anxiously pacing the floor to check that the bottling line would fit his small cellar. Nevertheless, he and Isabelle were very welcoming and one senses that they have a loyal clientele who appreciate, not only the quality and fair prices of their wines, but the passion and care of the people who make them.  

2008 Corbières Blanc, Carte Noire (tank sample)Appealing, fresh, zesty nose. Similarly fresh, peachy fruit with a hint of peach kernel; Good balancing and acidity and medium length. 15/20

2008 their biggest vintage ever and they are very happy with the quality.

 2008 Blanc Vieilles Vignes (tank sample). Similar (to previous wine) peach, nutty fruit on nose and palate but with more breadth and slight leesiness. Good acidity and long finish. Very promising. 16/20

 2007 Corbières Vieilles Vignes

leesy nose, apricot kernel. Attractive nutty, yeasty palate. Medium depth, balanced. Slightly hot finish. 14/20

Corbières Tradition Rouge 2006 €5

Upfront aromas of cherry and tar. Explosively fruity palate – cherry – almost jam – hint of bitter chocolate, firmness to tannins, slightly rustic, but essentially a very fruity, appealing wine which represents excellent value. 14/20




  1. My wife and I stopped in at this winery several years ago on a trip to the area. While we were impressed by all of their wines (and their hospitality), we were particularly impressed by their white wines. I'm not sure I had ever had a white Corbieres before; if I had it wasn't memorable. These were. We brought a few bottles, and brought one back to the US. Unfortunately, I don't believe their wines are available here. How lucky you are to be within driving distance.

  2. Thanks for your comment Bob. The Lagardes are lovely, welcoming people. But no, I don`t think they export to the USA but I will double check for you when I get back home next week>

  3. Thanks, Juliet. When we were there years ago, Isabelle told us that the used to export to the US, but the importer went bankrupt and owed them a lot of money, which made them hesitant about exporting to the US. C'est dommage! Maybe they've changed their mind.