Grape varieties : Merlot 50% / Cabernet Franc 50%
Service : To be enjoyed very chilled, 5-6°c
Certification : High Environmental Value level 3
Food pairings : Ideal as an aperitif with seafood toast, prawns, pizza, raw vegetables. At the table on melon-ham, cold cuts, salmon, grilled fish.
Domaine Chiroulet is located in Ténarèze, a region forming one of the 3 terroirs of the Armagnac area. If its toponymy is not clearly established, it is in any case very old, since some authors link its name to that of a prehistoric road crossing all of Gascony. It was a path linking the Garonne valley to Spain, the route of which was away from Roman roads and important roads in the Middle Ages and under the Ancien Régime, which earned it to be exempted from rights of way. Today, the Ténarèze therefore designates a wine-growing area specific to Armagnac, officially recognized as such and whose delimitation covers specific limestone soils, called “peyrusquets” in Gascony. Having Montréal-du-Gers as its epicenter, the part of the Ténarèze bordering the estate has a strong wine-growing vocation and is an important center of Armagnac production. Its eaux-de-vie also bear a specific imprint and are reputed to be “powerful and full-bodied”.
At the location of the estate, the Ténarèze presents the configuration of interfluves generated by the Auzoue and Osse rivers, the latter dominated by the hillside of Heux carrying its vineyard. Following them, the clays mingle with a sector rich in limestone, judiciously baptized the White Lands. Halfway up the hill, the limestone composes with a large vein of brown clay, rich in iron oxide, and defines the gifted nature of the Côte d'Heux.
The notion of terroir integrating the climate, that of the Ténarèze has an oceanic tendency, with however less accentuated rainfall and distributed according to a Mediterranean regime, the influences of which are also felt in the mild winters. In more local considerations, the prominent position of the Chiroulet site in the Gers context exposes it more particularly to winds, the most striking of which is a cold current coming from the Pyrenees. It is called "chiroula" in Gascon patois and, from cause to effect, has come to explicitly qualify the name of the Chiroulet estate.
Philippe Fezas' intuition to see in his vineyard a blessed land for reds proved to be more than justified. However, before appreciating the accomplishment of his plan, his objectification went through an in-depth analysis of the soils in order to determine their aptitudes to achieve the most favorable soil/grape variety adequations. This reconnaissance work was carried out under the expert eye of geologist Pierre Chevalier. The pedological study of the soils thus conditioned the method of planting at the location of each plot. Coupled with agronomic considerations, this approach has made it possible to define, for each unit of the terroir, the grape varieties, the rootstock and the density of cultivation best suited to the development of the grapes. Thus identified, the vineyard revealed a palette of soils with potential as diverse as they were specific and which enabled the winemaker to create a flourishing range of wines with an accomplished vocation. More particularly, the red grape varieties have found here an unsuspected land of choice, to the point of generating highly expressive cuvées that are completely new, if not unique within the Côtes de Gascogne.
The approach to the terroir surrounding the estate would not have known such completion without the obligation to conscientious viticulture where the cycle of life is respected and maintained. Reasoned tillage, the addition of organic fertilizers and natural amendments meet this requirement. Progressing in stages, the conversion to organic farming will consolidate a commitment for which the ground has been prepared by obtaining a High Environmental Value certification at the highest level of its criteria, known as HVE level 3. prescriptions governing the operation itself, the groves next to the vines – “buscagnos” in Gascon patois – are an integral part of the considerations on their environment and are included in a regional agroforestry project. Their maintenance benefits the ecosystem of the vine and makes it possible to relocate fertility and biomass to the plots, incidentally regulating the auxiliary fauna and the ambient microclimate. It is in a responsible spirit and a holistic approach that Domaine Chiroulet is thus operated.