French Natural Wine with Cows, Little Hens, and Terroir
With the launch of our natural wine club, we are excited to introduce you to each of our initial portfolio producers over the next three weeks. You can expect to see these wines in the first volume of the club and we want you to know where they came from!
Before we dive into Marc's story and wines, we put together some imagery that really paints the picture initially of who he is and what the domaine is all about:
The Highland Cows
Marc, his "Cocotte" and a calf
Views from the Plateau Leucate
Are you starting to feel the Fitou vibe yet? As you can see, Marc is very into cultivating the land in a sustainable and harmonious way. we love his take on farming, harvesting, and vinification. As a french natural wine producer, he is a part of a movement there that has been around much longer than here in the United States.
To understand Domaine Mamaruta’s wines, you have to understand the producer, Marc Castan. Marc grew up in the Corbieres, and started out working just 5 hectares of his grandfather’s vineyards around 10 years ago.
He’s since created a beautiful vineyard of 15 hectares, bordering lakes, cliffs, and ocean. We were immediately drawn to Marc’s commitment to the soil, fantastic wines, and highland cows (check out our social to learn more about Les Tondeuses or "the lawnmowers").
All the cows are rugged and used to living outdoors all year round. They are used for their natural compost and to clear the vines during the winter. They graze in the moors and lagoon areas of our coastline. During the dry season they provide them with alfalfa. Calves are raised under the mother until the age of 8 months.
Marc hosts three kinds of cows:
Originally from Scotland in the Highlands, they are characterized by long hairs and long horns up in the air.
This very old breed can graze areas of heath or marsh better than any other breed. They can consume a wide variety of shrub-like plants, making it an excellent brush cutter. They requires little care and is able to live in the harshest conditions: cold, snow, marsh, but also adapt to warmer climates.
Of Anglo-Norman origin, this small cow is known for its very rich milk and its reputation for the best butter. Breeders appreciate them for their calving ability, hardiness and docility. They can also be very affectionate with loving owners.
Coming from a selection of domestic cattle breeds, this kind of cow was intended to recreate the wild type of the "original aurochs," a species that disappeared in the 16th century.
If you're in France and in need of one of these beautiful creatures, Marc is breeding a few and you too can own one!
You can see more on each of the wines in the Domaine Mamaruta profile, but we'll leave you with Marc's own words on his wine's here:
An organic approach is obvious to me so both the vineyard and cellar are worked with minimum input, and with a great respect for life and nature. In the vineyards, we use biodynamic practices without certification. The management includes careful pruning and tending of the wounds, homemade compost and soft ploughing. Harvest usually starts as early as mid-August to preserve natural acidity. We harvest everything by hand, only in the morning, in small boxes. In the winery, vinification happens naturally. Nothing is used to tamper with the juice during fermentation.
In the spirit of our work in the vineyard, we don't use cultured yeast, we don’t de-acidify and we don't fine our wines. We practise light punchings of the cap and pumping-over for the full-bodied wines. Almost every wine will be kept during the winter in old barrels. Finally, we use a tiny amount of sulfur at bottling.