Yves Laboucarié founded Domaine de Fontsainte in southern France’s Corbières appellation in 1971. His first innovation was to champion a rosé he dubbed “Gris de Gris,” named for the direct pressing of Grenache Gris grapes. Yves also brought his own touch to the domaine’s red wines: he was one of the first in the region to promote whole cluster fermentation, and the first to use carbonic maceration — certainly one of the secrets to his Rouge’s explosive freshness and downright deliciousness.
The domaine’s wealth of ancient Carignan vines are especially well adapted to vinification with whole clusters, and today Yves’ son Bruno carries on his father’s pioneering work, producing what is one of the greatest value reds we’ve ever seen. The Carignan, planted in 1950, makes up the majority of the blend along with some Grenache and Syrah, which are fully destemmed.
Bruno’s use of partial carbonic allows for the expression of generous, juicy fruit and vivid florals that cascade over the palate with abandon, not unlike the best Beaujolais but in a darker, riper register that reflects the sun-kissed Mediterranean landscape of Corbières. The accents of herbal garrigue and vineyard stones offer just enough earthy terroir to counterbalance the chewy black fruit and mouth-coating wild brambleberry, making this bargain red — a testament to Yves’s creative spirit nearly fifty years ago — the right bottle to uncork at any which moment.
Like many great vignerons, Bruno believes that “great wines are made in the vineyard” and less in the cellars. He farms the land sustainably and keeps treatments to a minimum. Silica, clay, and limestone dominate the subsoil of Fontsainte’s vineyards. Once in the cellar, 60% of the wine ages 8-12 months in French oak barrels, the remainder in cement tank.