Domaine de la Tour (La Tour de Gâtigne)
La Tour de Gâtigne was originally built in 1212, by the Knights Templar, on the grounds of the Roman Villa Sancta Agatha, nowadays called Saint-Chaptes (name of the town where the estate is based). It used to be a commandery, a defensive house where the Knights lived at that time. 800 years later, the main tower still stands over the estate which it bears the name.
Since the 13th century, the estate has been sold only three times and has been inhabited and loved by the most illustrious Languedoc’s families who took a very good care of its embellishment and development
La Tour de Gâtigne is located in the South of France, near Nîmes. Our vineyard of 100 hectares benefits from a prestigious Mediterranean terroir; it is planted on the high and rocky plots facing south, on the rich soils of the left Bank of Gardon River. Diurnal temperature variation allows us to produce quality, structured and well balanced wines. Indeed, cool nights during summer help us to preserve aromas, freshness and acidity in our wines. The strong and deep noble grapes mix harmoniously to offer aromatic, spicy and fruity wines of appellation as well.
Since 1835, the estate belongs to the same family who strives to preserve this precious heritage while developing the winery.
Witness to Languedoc’s history, La Tour de Gâtigne is also a dynamic farm.
Within the 80’s, the vineyard has been entirely replanted as to produce two complementary ranges of wines.
First, our noble wines of the Protected Appellation of Origin Duché d’Uzès. And then, our well known range of the Protected Geographical Indication of Cévennes., made of varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Viognier and Chardonnay. Only our Rosé is made of a blend of Grenache and Nielluccio (Corsican grape variety better known as Sangiovese).
Work in the vineyard and the winemaking process are conducted with the greatest care and each generation contributes their own skills.
We use two pruning systems depending on the grape variety and the result that we want in the end. We usually use cane pruning (called “Guyot”) on our rosés and whites and Spur pruning (called “Cordon”) for our reds.
On Both methods the vines are trellised. This helps us to lower the risk of disease with a perfect air circulation within the vines as there is often humidity in early mornings. But also to allow the berries to get as much of sunlight that they need. Then we leave the vines grow until a certain point, usually to the 4th wire (vines are trellised vertically on 4 wires) then we use the topping method (écimage) 3 to 4 times as to control vines growing, we usually leave about 15cm of vines above the 4th wire. Topping is really important as to prevent depletion of the vine by helping it to save resources such as nutrient and water.
For many years now our vineyard is conducted in a sustainable way by using as less as possible chemicals (e.g weeding is made with help of a machine) and by planting trees and several sort of plants to keep a good biodiversity within our vineyard. We also spread compost and enrich the soil by manures and with nutritive elements, then we dig compost into the soil in order to facilitate microbial life.
We’ve started our organic transition 3 years ago on a part of our vineyard; some cuvées will be labeled organic regarding the vintage to come (2020). Taking care of our environment is a really important matter for us so is transmission to the generation to come.
As for an example, we use four Leaf Cover in some part of our vineyard, which is growing within winter when vine is asleep. Then around April its flowering and sows seeds for the following year. The main advantage of this plant is that there is no competition with the vines regarding nutrient and water; it will let those resources to the vines and not for itself. It also enriches the local biodiversity and allow us to work easily with tractors as when it dies it creates a sort of a carpet on the floor, especially when it’s rainy, tractors doesn’t sink into the mud.
We are currently trying other variety of plants such as fodder radish, rye, and hairy vetch to see which one fits best our main goal; biodiversity development, less water evaporation during hot summer day and soil enrichment.
The harvest is mechanical and it is done before the sun comes out as to keep a maximum of freshness on the berries and to avoid high temperature which can conduct to start the maceration before the grapes are pressed; grapes are destemmed as to keep only the berries. Then, we press the grapes in order to extract the juice that will be sent to a concrete tank (red) and Stainless steel tank (whites and rosés). From pressing to wine bottling, all steps of winemaking are made by using an inert gas; Nitrogen. The point of using nitrogen for us is to concentrate and keep as much as possible first aromas of our wines until bottling by protecting it from oxygen. Another important point of using Nitrogen is that we do not need to add a lot of sulphites.
At the winemaking stage, the used processes such as control of temperatures, allow us to have concentration, power, freshness and aromatic complexity in our wines. Which is why, on our white and rosés, we favor a thermos-regulated fermentation to keep freshness, acidity and primary aromas in each grape variety.