Domaine Mamaruta is a small estate situated near the Pyrenees mountain range and spain, facing the Mediterranean Sea. In this paradise looking region stand a man passionate and sincere, but also determined to produce the best wine with as little impact on the environment as possible and his name is Marc Castan.
At first working for the cooperative winery of the village after he inherited from his grandfather’s vines, he quickly understands that intensive agriculture doesn’t fit him. He therefore starts his own winery in 2009 with the objective of bringing the vineyard back to life after years of chemical agriculture.
Nowadays Domaine Mamaruta is 14ha wide and his entirely located near the shores of the villages called La Palme and Leucate. Many different “terroirs” can be found in the area with, for example, a mix of sand and pebbles at water-level and dry, compact lime-stone soils on the cliffs’ plateau. Yield is very low partly because 70% of the vines are pruned in “Gobelet”, which makes them look like a starfish or a hand, rather than in “Guyot” or “Cordon de Royat” which are more common and give vines their traditional “T” shape. “Gobelet” pruning surely produces less but is very well adapted to harsh, dry environment. Indeed, thanks to its shape, the grapes “fall” in the center of the “Gobelet” and are well protected from the sun.
Grape variety wise, the estate can count on local varietals like Carignan noir and blanc, Mouvèdre, Syrah, Grenache noir and gris as well as Macabeu and Muscat petit grains. In fact, there are usually more than one grape variety in the same plot because in the old times one would prefer to replace a dead vine with another vine -whatever the variety- rather than leaving a hole in the row. Marc has chosen to keep his plots as is and respect as much as possible the different terroirs that compose his vineyard by making a wine per every plot he owns. Which is pretty intense. So, since one wine equal one plot, almost all his wines are blends of various varietal which has grown from the same terroir. Excellent!
In terms of viticulture technics, Marc works very carefully, mostly by hand, in order to bring back life in the soils and renew with the vineyard natural life cycle. For that he sows many endemic plants and flowers inside and around the plots and makes natural compost with the leftovers from pruning, harvesting and such. Marc is also very close to Biodynamie and spreads decoctions of plants like chamomile, lavenda, rosemary, dandelion or nettle on the vines.
Officially certified “Agriculture Biologique”, Marc goes way beyond thanks to a complementary approach: Agroecology. Agroecology is the opposite of intensive farming where one field is only dedicated to one plant and where the plant’s food is injected by men inside a dead soil.
At Domaine Mamaruta it is not only the ground but the whole environment that feeds -since it is teeming with life- the vines; but also the flowers, the foxes, the bird and… Marc’s many Highland cows! Indeed, the estate is also home to more than 10 Highland cows -called the “Tondeuses” aka the “lawnmowers” as well as 2 donkeys. Grazing between the vines in winter and around the field in summer, the animals too are part of the equation put into place by Marc and help providing natural fertilizer to the ecosystem.