Since the early 20th century, the Piquemal family has been farming grapes in southwestern France’s Roussillon—known best by locals as the “Canigou,”or Northern Catalonia. Nestled in the foothills of the Corbières Mountains, in the heart of wild Cathar country, their estate covers 46 hectares of vineyard land and two hectares of olive groves on the slopes of the Agly River Valley. The domaine has been run by the same family since its early beginnings, with each generation contributing its own improvements and innovations. The current head of the family, Pierre Piquemal, began to help his grandfather in the vines at the age of 15. In 1983, he and his family launched the first bottling under their own label, and today, Domaine de Piquemal continues to be a family affair. Pierre’s daughter, Marie-Pierre, now runs the winery alongside her father.
In this part of Roussillon, a mosaic of terroirs contributes to the intensity of the wine: schist, marls, gneiss, granite and limestone all lay the patchwork of the vineyards of Domaine Piquemal, changing the colors of the earth one vineyard to the next, from red to black to white. The Piquemal family restructured the vineyards in the 1970s to regroup plots and preserve the older vines, allowing them to experiment with different blends of noble grape varietals while still remaining within the confines of the Côtes du Roussillon AOC. Year-round sunshine and limited rainfall lend power to the reds, while also allowing for the exceptional ripeness needed for their cuvees of vin doux naturels, Muscat de Rivesaltes and Rivesaltes Ambré. They farm their land sustainably, plow the soils and perform a green harvest to keep yields low at an average of 30 hl/ha. The winery produces up to 15 different wines each year. This diversification has come about in large part because of the Piquemal family’s interest in showcasing the wide variety of terroirs found in Roussillon.
For more information, go to: www.domaine-piquemal.com