Domaine Villepeyroux Forest: History and Change
We'd like to bring to you a focus on one of our producers located in the Languedoc-Roussillon, prepared by Stephanie of Domaine Villepeyroux Forest.
DOMAINE VILLEPEYROUX FOREST
A FAMILY VINEYARD AND 2000 YEARS OF HISTORY
Our family wine history begins in 2006, when my parents bought 20 ha of vines and the buildings of Domaine Villepeyroux. At this time, the production is only intended for the cooperative cellar. In 2011, the rest of the family (my husband and I) moved to the estate, to learn the trades of the vine and work together. Today, the vineyard has changed a lot: we now have 38 ha of AOC Minervois and IGP. A dozen grape varieties are worked there with love. Part of the production is intended for bulk but we have been bottling since 2008 and we select our best plots for this. Our yields are low (on average 40hl / ha), and we favor quality over quantity.
A conversion to organic farming has been underway since August 2018.
While our family history on the estate is fairly recent, it is part of a great history dating back more than 2000 years. Indeed, the hamlet on which the vineyard is located is a site infinitely older than it seems:
The hamlet of Villepeyroux was formerly called Vilar Pério. It was an important crossroads of communication routes and undoubtedly dates from the Carolingian period (because of the name "vilar" which means domain, and which was frequently given at the time), that is to say between 752 and 987. It was successively a priory (10th century) and a post house.
Along the vineyards is the Cami Romieu, which is one of the secondary Roman roads.
Along the Cami Romieu is a small wood in which we discovered an old stone quarry. It seems that, thanks to the proximity of the Roman Way, this quarry was used for the construction of the hamlet, and perhaps for that of the Medieval City of Carcassonne.
A little further down the property, a plot of the Marselan grape variety was planted in 2012.
We believe that on this plot was the Saint Marcel chapel (5th / 6th century). This chapel is indeed cited in various works and blocks of freestone were found during the preparation of the land for planting. Subsequently, at the end of the 12th century, a castle was built in the village of Malves en Minervois and the villagers naturally settled around. The hamlet of Villepeyroux developed less quickly and the parish was abandoned in the 15th century. Malves will be the secular counterpart of a religious from Villepeyroux.
In the courtyard of the estate there is also a dovecote. It dates from the 17th century. At that time, there were 4, one on each corner.
A stone cross welcomes travelers below the estate with this date: 1649.
A capitelle borders the vines. It is a small stone house that housed the shepherds 200 years ago.
Entirely built in dry stones, it stands out from other constructions of this type in the region. First, it is larger than the average, second, it is an internal circular plane enclosed in an external quadrangular plane. Inside, a series of niches and support beams suggest the presence of an attic under the vault, which allowed the shepherd who lived there to sleep above his sheep. Finally, the interior vault is of rare quality.