Embres-et-Castelmaure is a tiny village in Corbières, with around 150 residents, all of whom are families of vignerons. Their co-operative Cave de Castelmaure was founded in the 1920s and consists of 70 members making wine from grapes hand-picked from 760 local plots totalling 350 hectares.
Surrounded by mountains and adjoining the vineyards of Fitou, this wild, windswept terrain has a variety of soils from schist, limestone, alluvial river wash to clay-chalk. The cave co-operative is modern, innovative and extremely well run producing excellent and award winning wines.
To reach this co-operative you have to drive several kilometres down a single-track road, and when you finally arrive in the tiny village of Embres-et-Castelmaure (which incidentally has no shops, restaurants or even a bar) you are confronted with a modern, hugely impressive winery and tasting room.
90% of the wine produced is red, 80% of which is classified AOC Corbières, made from grape varieties such as grenache noir, syrah, carignan, and mourvèdre.
Since the early 80s the co-operative has been under the leadership of Patrick de Marien (President) with his flair and vision and Bernard Pueyo (Director) who creates so many delicious wines with a price range to match every pocket. They have been the creative genius behind their distinctive and rather beautiful labels, the cuvées and the names.
Handpicked, only the best quality grapes are processed using excellent modern technology, including temperature-controlled vats and an ultra-modern pressing machine, which contribute to a more authentic expression of the terroir. The more premium wines, such as their Cuvée Corbières and No. 3 Corbières, then undergo barrel ageing for between 10 and 14 months in French oak.
The reds are full of damson and cassis notes with that unmistakable 'garrigue' aroma of heather and wild thyme with plenty of body and soft, ripe tannins.
Website : www.castelmaure.com (please note that this site is only in French and German at the moment)