Brave young Corbières winemakers need your help – urgently!

The village of Fabrezan makes a particular wine style that excited me 50 years ago and still does. But it’s not easy to make and so is getting harder to find. So buy this and you’ll maybe be its saviour. And by backing its makers; Jean-Baptiste and Amélie … of Fabrezan; you’ll be their saviour too.

Struggling to keep a tradition alive

They’re two keen young winemakers making a small amount of terrific, concentrated wine, yet struggling to make a go of it in a market so dominated by Big Retail. Both are skilled, qualified experts (oenologists); Amélie’s day job is checking that every wine labelled Corbières meets the Appellation’s required quality levels, whilst Jean-Baptiste hires himself out to make wine for rich, grand estates in the region.

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But in the evenings they climb up to their terraces where the sound of cigalles – cicadas – deafens, to tend their pride and joy: the family’s few hectares of gnarly old vines planted by Great Grandad over a hundred years ago. Jean-Baptiste’s father sent their few, tiny grapes to the local cooperative. But Jean-Baptiste’s training convinced him they could produce a much greater wine than the big, old cooperative was ever going to manage.

Corbiere winemaker Jean-Baptiste
Jean-Baptiste points across the ancient vines planted by his great grandad before the Great War, to the £40-a-bottle vineyard over the road

His Dad (who sits on the cooperative’s Conseille) reluctantly agreed they could use their ancient barn-winery to revive the family’s own wine tradition; using the local fermentation method, nowadays called macération carbonique. But only as long as it paid. As yet it hasn’t.

Time is running out for these ‘living antiques’

Time is short. I know you’ll love this wine because nearly 50 years ago it was a ‘Mac-Carb’ wine from Fabrezan which dramatically expanded my own tiny new wine company. ‘Chateau Fabrezan’ 1971 was a big, fat, dark, soft, mouth-filling wine my customers went nuts for. Old Monsieur Bergès who made it is long gone, but JeanBaptiste has successfully brought back this lovely style … and really made it sing!

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I’m suggesting you do something special here, and give him real support, not only by buying a case but by putting your name down for future vintages. He doesn’t make much, so when the wine Wows! you, you’ll be thankful for your annual allocation. If it doesn’t wow, just cancel. No stress, and thanks anyway.

Become a Fabrezan family supporter today

Weekends, J-B and Amélie sell at streetmarkets around France. Tough life, with a small child. I don’t want this admirable couple to fail and this wine to disappear so I said we’d introduce them to just the right sort of people (you) and, with luck, you’d
buy all their wine and – my experience tells me – keep on buying it. And you’d love the idea of going down to meet the family and enjoy a glass from the barrel.

What is Mac Carb?

In this ancient region, traditionally they tip the grape bunches into the vats whole, uncrushed! Grenache and Carignan benefit from lying in the vats for several days while the natural enzymes in the grapes break down the skins from the inside. That prefermentation results in a wine that comes out dry but yet has this unctuous, apparent sucrosité … it is extraordinaire.

Today, you’ll pay over £20 for wine of similar quality in the local Cru Boutenac region … or up to £40 or £60 for a bottle like this from my friend Gerard Bertrand who has one of the best-known estates.

Château Guillem de Montjustin 2018 … to supporters just £12.99

Just call it ‘Montjustin’. There is no château any more! Simply their old cellar, hidden in the back alleys of Fabrezan. But so worth finding. And saving.

Sign up now for a 12-bottle case – £77.94 to reserve the wine and another £77.94 when we deliver the wine to you in March 2020. We will be listing it at £20 a bottle when it arrives. If there’s any left! You’ll continue to receive a great saving each vintage you remain a supporter.

Save £84 a case by ordering now

… and they’ll reserve you a case every year you want it at the supporter’s price. Put Fabrezan in your travel plans. Go see for yourself. Give encouragement. There’s nothing winegrowers love more than seeing people sipping their wine and saying how much they love it. Call us first to set up a meeting, though, as J-B and Amélie are going to be very busy.

Yours,

Tony Laithwaite
Fabrezan enthusiast and champion of the small grower!

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About Laithwaites Wine

Laithwaite's began in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite took a job washing bottles in Bordeaux... and fell in love with real wine and the people who make it. When he borrowed a van to share these delicious wines with friends and neighbours at home, things went so well that boutique wineries were soon queuing to take part. Today we're the UK's No.1 home-delivery wine merchant, with over 1,500 wines to choose from... including red, white and rosé, plus Champagne and sparkling, beer and cider.

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