Domaine Clos Bagatelle

The appellation of St. Chinian covers 20 villages. Whilst its vineyards are not solely confined to the actual village of St. Chinian, the Domaine Clos Bagatelle is situated on its outskirts. This is a surprisingly busy, bustling village, situated in a deep valley. Approaching from Beziers, the road winds down the hairpin bends like a scene from a movie, passing through the vibrant centre with its many bars, shops and restaurants before climbing steeply up a mirror hill out the other side. Domaine Clos Bagatelle is set back on the left, at the very brow of the hill with panoramic views across St. Chinian and its undulating vineyards.
The Clos Bagatelle lieu-dit from which the domaine takes its name, has been the much treasured possession of the same family since 1623, when it was acquired by local draper, Pierre Mercadier. He could immediately see the potential of the terroir and after years of hard work to improve the land, began to plant his first vines. The love of the vineyard has passed through the generations and is run today by
Christine Deleuze, whose parents had worked hard to improve the quality of the wine by lovingly and diligently replanting the vineyards with carefully selected vine stock. Today Christine has continued to build on all the effort and devotion of her ancestors. The oldest vines are now around 100 years of age and the 60 hectares are worked by lutte raisonnee, moving towards ‘bio’. All the vineyards are hand harvested with careful selection. An obvious perfectionist, it soon becomes apparent that Christine is her own worst critic, always looking for what will make the wine better next time. Tasting this beautifully crafted example of St. Chinian Tradition, it is hard to believe it can be bettered. The balance of this wine and the refreshingly individual Aux 4 Vents Blanc is faultless. Over a light lunch we talk about the appellations of southern France and the great potential that they offer. Obviously, this holds no surprise for Christine or her family who have all invested so much of their time, toil and talent over the centuries. However she cannot resist a wry smile as she remembers a few of the ‘one hit wonders’ who have moved into the area and found overnight fame with their ‘cuvee speciale’ only to vanish into obscurity the following year when they fail to replicate their success or over-inflate their prices inline with their egos. There is no danger of that here. Chrisitne works her vineyards with an inherent understanding, producing wines of purity, typicity and consistency.
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