Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Cabardès, languedoc appellation (since 1999) of 590 ha/1,457 acres to the north of Carcassonne which produces red and some rosé wines that testify to its location on the cusp of Atlantic and Mediterranean influences. The grape varieties planted also represent a Bordeaux/Languedoc cocktail of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cot (Malbec), and some Fer Servadou (of marcillac fame), spiced and fleshed out with the more meridional Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsaut (mainly for rosé). The Bordelais varieties tend to prosper on the western, wetter, deeper soils, while wines produced from the hotter, shallower soils of the eastern Cabardès are more likely to have a high proportion of Mediterranean varieties. Winds almost constantly buffet the small hills punctuated by pines and garrigue, and minimize the local wine producers’ dependence on agrochemicals. In contrast to the somewhat similar Côtes de la malepère to the south of Carcassonne, production here is mainly in the hands of a small but committed band of individuals constrained by low financial returns. Winemaking equipment and methods are not always the most sophisticated, but the wines boast an originality and potential for longevity that is unusual for this part of France (which officials tend to classify as south west france rather than the languedoc to which its immediate eastern neighbour the Minervois belongs).