Andrew Guard


Up in the wild, scrubby landscape of the Corbières is one of the most talented young vignerons in France; shy, modest and honest he rents 10 hectares of vines in and around Villeneuve des Corbières at about 300m above sea level and nestled well into the mountains.

He has Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah planted in the schist and limestone soils; some of the vines are more than a hundred years old! For white wine he has Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc which he blends to produce a single cuvee each year. The respect for the soils is paramount to Maxime and he has a little menagerie of farm animals living with him that he lets loose in the vineyards between November and April to cultivate and help develop the natural environment and microflora. It goes without saying that there are no pesticides or insecticides used at this estate.

All grapes are manually harvested in to small crates and taken to a cold room before being whole bunch fermented at ambient temperature by carbonic maceration using only indigenous yeasts. After this the fermentation is allowed to continue in the traditional method in open top casks with daily pigeage.

Following the fermentation the wines are all élevaged in cement tanks and old barrels before being bottled without fining or filtration.

Maxime learned his winemaking from one of the best in France; Jean Foillard from the Beaujolais. You can see the influence in his wine too. Delicious, velvety and juicy fresh they burst with beautiful perfume and life - these brilliant wines could win over the most jaded palates and will bring a smile to even the most obstinately weary drinker.

‘La Bégou’ is produced from 90% Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc, it’s piercingly fresh and floral with faint hints at pear, the fact that the grapes were grown at altitude keeps this wine fine and mineral. The red’s begin with ‘La Démarrante’ an impossibly silken and delicious blend of Carignan and Cinsault produced by carbonic maceration. ‘Rozeta’ is blended from 65% old Carignan and the rest Grenache; it’s got velvety rich and brambly fruit but with incredible freshness and clarity—perhaps Jean Foillard’s influence.. Lastly, ‘Campagnès’—made from century old Carignan and Grenache from decomposed Schist soils—possesses clarity and finesse and such fine and elegant tannins you may question whether this comes from the Languedoc or Burgundy—it’s a very special wine.


Written by Andrew Guard — June 16, 2012