Olivier Varichon and Emmanuelle Vinci now organically farm a total of six hectares of scattered, small parcel vineyards in the higher elevations of the remote, wildly rugged, scraggily landscape of the Agly Valley in a corner of the Roussillon at the edge of the Pyrenees, Yields are especially low, often less than a ton per acre, especially from the old bush vines growing along the steep sites in everything from clay, limestone, granite, and schist. Yes, this is severe viticulture and the couple mantra is to keep everything as real and natural as possible:
- Hand harvested.
- 100% Carignan – Whole clusters are crushed gently by foot.
- Natural indigenous yeast fermentation in cement tank for 4-5 weeks.
- Manual punchdowns and pumpovers during fermentation.
- Wine aged in demi-muids and 12 year old barrels for 18 months, and then 6 months in stainless steel.
- Wine is not racked.
- Regular topping off of old barrels and stirring of the lees
- Unfined and unfiltered
- No SO2 during vinification
- “Rafalot” is the name of the valley where the vines are planted. Vines are 100+ years old planted on one hectare (almost 2.5 acres) of clay and limestone.