Images from Chateau du Donjon


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Chateau du Donjon

The ''Chateau du Donjon'', once the property of the monks of the abbey of Caunes, has been family property since the 15th century. It takes its name from the ancient chateau of Bagnoles and from its picturesque 13th century donjon (keep) that shoots up in the middle of the cellar.

The oldest property deed is an amusing document which refers to a dam built on the river next to a place called ''La Galinière''. That year, the dam had been carried away when the Clamoux (a small stream that descends from Nore peak, the summit of the Montaigne Noire (Black Mountain) which forms the southerly most foothills of the Cévènes mountains). The inhabitants of the village helped the owner to rebuild. The owner, as an expression of gratitude, gave the villagers the right to use the water for their gardens. This right, which was written down and notarized, began at noon on Saturday and ended Monday morning at dawn! The rest of the time, the water was reserved for the mill (which still exists, although it is no longer used to grind flour.).

The vineyard of the ''Château du Donjon'' stretches out over the rural district of Bagnoles, the western part of the Minervois region, in the Clamoux area. It is divided into two large parts, one for A.O.C. Minervois, and the other for "Vin de Pays" (Regional wines). The yields of these wines are very limited in order to obtain a magnificent concentration of aromas.

Grapes are harvested at perfect maturity, and the individual grapes are removed from the stems at the beginning of the wine making process. Only the individual grapes are put in the vat. The only exception to this rule are the best ''Carignan'' grapes which are made into wine by a process of carbonic maceration.

During the fermentation (which lasts as long as possible in order to extract all of the aroma), the temperature is constantly monitored. And when it comes out of the vat, only the free flowing wine is kept, which represents the finest quality.

The pressed wine, which has more colour and more tannic acid, is set aside for later use to be blended, as needed, with the wine to be bottled.

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