THE ESTATE, YESTERDAY AND TODAY
Domaine de BAron’Arques, since 1998, belongs to Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and her two sons.
Situated in the commune of Saint-Polycarpe, near Limoux in the Aude département, it used to be called Domaine de Lambert. A very ancient estate, it belonged to the Abbey of Saint-Polycarpe in the 17th century.
At the Revolution, the estate was sold at public auction to a Mr. Estribaud-Gaure from Carcassonne for 19,300 livres. "Lambert Farm comprises buildings, a yard, fields, vines, cultivated and uncultivated land", the whole covering just over 81 hectares (200 acres).
After subsequently passing through several hands, Domaine de Lambert was sold in 1875 to Michel Tesseyre. As the deed of sale records, there were then "three pairs of oxen, three horses, a mare and 150 sheep" at Lambert.
At the time, the estate covered 103 hectares (254 acres), still its current size. The Tesseyre family soon stopped rearing sheep, preferring to extend the vineyard. 48 hectares (118 acres) were under vines by 1910, the same as today.
The house, with its terrace and garden, was built between 1890 and 1900.
In 1998 Mr. Chéreau, a Marseilles lawyer and heir of the Domaine, sold it to Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and her two sons. The three entrusted management of the Domaine to the family company, Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
The estate was in very poor condition, calling for extensive renovation of the vineyard and winemaking facilities, a process that took five years.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, wishing to assert its presence in Languedoc without having to wait for the renovation work to be complete, concluded a partnership with Vignerons du Sieur d'Arques to produce a high-quality red wine in the region. The wine is made from a selection of grapes supplied by Vignerons du Sieur d'Arques and it is vinified under the supervision of Baron Philippe de Rothschild's winemakers. It was called BAron’Arques, after the names of the two partners. Three vintages of BAron’Arques were marketed : 1998, 1999 and 2000.
The renovation of Domaine de Lambert was nearing completion, heralding the disappearance of the BAron’Arques brand. However, as the name had become familiar to consumers, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild decided that it should be kept: Domaine de Lambert, in which Vignerons du Sieur d’Arques have a minority shareholding, therefore became Domaine de BAron’Arques.
In 2003, Domaine de BAron’Arques benefited from a fortunate conjunction of circumstances : the wine proved to be of very high quality, and the Domaine was awarded the appellation AOC Limoux rouge, newly created by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO).
For all those reasons, 2003 will be Year I of Domaine de BAron’Arques, a great wine that can proudly take its place alongside the family's other châteaux.
DOMAINE DE BARON'ARQUES,
A MILESTONE FOR LANGUEDOC WINES
The venerable estate, which goes back at least as far as the 17th century, was bought by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and her two sons in December 1998 under the name Domaine de Lambert. The vineyard and winemaking facilities have since been extensively renovated.
Located in the commune of Saint-Polycarpe, near Limoux in the Aude département, Domaine de BAron'Arques has 47 hectares (116 acres) of vines and a diversity of soils, micro-climates, and varietals that give its wine richness and complexity.
Produced and vinified in the hallowed tradition of Bordeaux winemaking, Domaine de BAron'Arques is now a reference against which other Languedoc wines will be measured.
Vineyard and Vinification
Domaine de BAron’Arques is a single 103-hectare (254-acre) estate, 47 hectares (116 acres) of which are planted with vines.
It is located in the commune of Saint-Polycarpe, in the Haute-Vallée terroir (the upper Aude valley, the highest and coolest part of the Limoux region), at the cross-roads between the warm and dry Mediterranean terroir and the warm and damp Autan terroir.
It therefore benefits from the influence of all three Limoux terroirs, a considerable advantage for the complexity of its wine.
The Domaine de BAron’Arques vineyard is at an altitude of 250 to 350 metres. The soil is mainly clay and limestone, except for a few parcels where it is sandier or contains a mixture of gravel and sand.
It is planted with 70% Atlantic varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) and 30% Mediterranean varieties (Grenache, Malbec and Syrah) for the red wine and 100% Chardonnay for the white wine.
In constant pursuit of the best possible quality, the technical managers of Domaine de BAron’Arques have opted for high-density planting: 7500 plants per ha on 10 hectares (25 acres) of the estate and 4600 plants per ha on the other parcels (most vineyards in the region are planted with a density of around 3000 plants per ha).
Since 1998, varieties and rootstock have been rigorously chosen to suit the different types of soil. Everything has been done to ensure the harmonious development of the vineyard.
The grapes are harvested by hand in 12-kilo open baskets, as at Mouton Rothschild, Opus One and Almaviva.
For the red wines:
Because sorting takes place at a higher level than the vinification vats, the grapes can be fed into the vats by gravity, a process which helps to keep the fruit whole.
The grapes are gently destemmed and lightly crushed, then fermented in stainless steel vats.
Alcoholic fermentation lasts 8 days at a maximum temperature of 30° C.It is followed by a maceration period of two to four weeks, depending on the wines and the varieties.
After malolactic fermentation, the first wine is matured for 12 months in new barrels (25 to 50% depending on the vintage) and one- to three-year-old barrels.
The second wine, La Capitelle du Domaine de BAron’Arques, is barrel-matured for only 6 months.
For the white wine:
The wine is vinified and matured in oak barrels (50% new, 50% one year old) for 9 months.
The wines are bottled at the estate or, as they would say in Bordeaux, "mis en bouteilles au château"!