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A family legacy

When Laurent took up the mantle of head winemaker at the family domaine, his mission was always to produce wines of finesse, energy and elegance from the Languedoc, an ambition that some believed to be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. His father Henri was already known for his innovative and pioneering spirit, having established Syrah as a grape of great quality and having the grape included in the AOC St Chinian, which was first recognised in 1982. Together, father and son wanted to raise the stakes even further. It started with small steps of improvement in the vineyard, but the mission has been at the heart of every decision Laurent has made since. This spirit of Kaizen has seen Laurent work slowly and tenaciously to show the world the extraordinary variety of this region and its unique terroirs, through our wines.

In 1992, the Miquels planted Viognier, which was new to the Languedoc. They planted the vines in a north to south direction, understanding that if we wanted to focus on quality, the grapes would need protection from the intense midday heat to preserve acidity and freshness. This kind of foresight has led to multiple awards for our Viognier wines, especially the top cuvée, La Vérité.

There are 200 hectares of vines planted at Laurent Miquel; in St Chinian, around Château Cazal Viel, (primarily Syrah and Viognier), as well as Albarino, Chardonnay and small quantities of red vines at Château les Auzines in Corbières, which Laurent and Neasa purchased in 2009. Our Auzines estate totals 270 hectares, but, with under 60 hectares planted, the vast majority of the land is left wild in order to promote biodiversity and soil health. There are wild herbs, hedgerows, native plants and shrubs, as well as wild boar and deer roaming the land. It's a unique location in the foothills of the Pyrenees at an altitude of 350-400m. The soils are limestone chalk with clay and the average temperature is on average about 3C cooler than at Cazal Viel, thanks to morning fogs and cool mountain breezes.

When Laurent elected to plant Albarino at Château les Auzines (29 hectares, with a further 8ha coming on-stream in the 2024 vintage), many thought he was crazy. Even Henri advised against it, despite his own reputation for trying new and different things. Recently, Albariño was officially approved for inclusion in Bordeaux wines, as a move against global warming and climate change. Now who's chasing who for quality?!

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