Clos de l’Escandil is a terraced vineyard situated above the town of La Liviniere, recognized as the best vineyard terroir in the Minervois appellation. Planted in chalky soil, yields are extremely low. All fruit is hand-harvested, table-sorted, and thoroughly destemmed prior to Burgundian-style fermentation in small tanks. A cold soak of 48 hours was followed by a 21 day cuvaison with twice-daily cap punching. The cuvee then spends 18 months in oak barriques (1/3rd new). Deeply colored, it boasts intense aromas of sweet raspberries, exotic spices, garrigue and subtle oak. A full-bodied, concentrated and firmly structured wine with ripe black fruit, olives and uniquely provencal herb flavors. Bottled unfiltered.
The use of the description AOC Minervois La Livinière (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) is covered by a decree of 1999.
The territory covered by this appellation is that of six villages : Azillanet, Cesseras, Félines-Minervois, La Livinière and Siran in the Hérault and Azille in the Aude. The total extent available to this appellation amounts to 2,600 hectares of which, in 1999, some 150 hectares are being exploited by 20 indiviual producers and 4 Cooperatives for a total production of 6,000 hl.
The land in this sector is arid, with a low rainfall between 400 and 500 mm giving a large deficit in the summer. Hot summer days are contrasted with cooler airs descending from the Causse during the nights.
In order to use the appellation “AOC Minervois La Livinière”, the wines must be made only from specified grape varieties and the use of these varieties is subject to some limitations on percentage content within the wine’s makeup.
There is a target yield of 45 hectolitres per hectare and a limit specified for maximum production yield per hectare of 54 hectolitres, a minimum planting density of 4000 plants per hectare for all new plantings or replantings and some constraints on the methods and styles of pruning.
Wines are limited to the following varieties : grenache (minimum 60%), syrah (minimum 40%),
mourvèdre, lladoner-pelut noir, carignan, cinsault, picpoul noir, terret noir & aspiran.
AOC Minervois La Livinière wines must have a minimum alcohol content of 12% volume and be produced from grapes harvested when well ripe. Well ripened grapes must have a minimum sugar content of 200g/l.
To qualify for the La Livinière label, the wines must be matured at the vineyard at least 15 months before being bottled. The date of 1st November of the year following the harvest has been specified as the earliest date for bottling. During the period of maturation, the wines will be sampled twice before qualifying as AOC Minervois La Livinière and a third sampling will check the quality prior to bottling.
MINERVOIS – THE HISTORY
In Minervois, as in much of old Europe, the events which marked the social landscape were in the main derived from the activities of the christian churches in the middle-ages trying to impose their power over the peoples. The more ancient times of pre-history had the decency not to interfere with the social landscape, the small pockets of people tended at that time to be nomadic and if settled, to be in such small groups that they left no marked imprint on our surroundings.
First and foremost perhaps in the impact on the modern mind, we have the associations with the Albigensian Crusades when the King of France joined forces with the Pope to oust and destroy what they called the Cathar heresy. These events have left their mark with the remains of chateaux at Minerve and Lastours. If the crusade started in Beziers with the burning of the many in the church on 22 July, 1209, it didn’t delay much before attacking Minerve which it crushed after a long siege in the summer of 1210.
But before the Albigensians, the Romans were here and they too have left traces of their passing. The Roman conquest was not a feature of the christian churches but by the time of the fall of the Roman empire, the main conurbations were largely christianised whereas the rural areas remained pagan and more open to some of the less mainstream religious groups.
After the Albigensian crusades, the catholic church restructured its organisation, in 1318, and the regional divisions resulting from the subdivision of the Narbonne diocese continued for many centuries and were adopted after the French Revolution when the boundaries of the present day administrative departments were decided. The splitting of the Minervois between the departments of the Aude and the Herault, then, dates from the reorganisation of the diocese of Narbonne in 1318. It is only now being overcome by the establishment of working parties across the two departments to study and make proposals to present a unified image of the Minervois to the rest of the world. The modern driving force is the economic power of tourism.