DIVEM is a small domaine (4.5 ha) which intends to stay that way.
Our aim is to make exceptional wines that are remarkable for their concentration and aromatic range.
We make four wines:
DIVEM and CARPE DIVEM are both matured in Taransaud barrels. They are left to age for a period lasting from 18 months – five years in a 16th century cellar which is very well protected from fluctuations in external temperatures.
Les Initiales de DIVEM is a blend made from the wines that are used to create DIVEM. This wine is made mainly from the fruit of younger vines, and it is released after a year in tank.
From the soil and to the grapes
DIVEM and Les Initiales de DIVEM come from two blocks situated between Montpeyroux and the village of Arboras, called Les Boissières and Les Pradels. A trail of glacial scree makes up this stony soil, one of the poorest in Montpeyroux. Here, we grow mainly Grenache and three other Mediterranean varieties (Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault); in a good year, we manage to grow a few bunches per vine.
In contrast to the well-draining soils from which our two AOC wines are born, the Merlot used for CARPE DIVEM thrives (like that of the great wines of Pomerols) on the clay-based soil of an area known as Fontcaude.
There is a similarity between the lack of water retention in the clay-limestone soils of Les Boissières and Les Pradels, and the opposite found in the clay soil of Fontcaude. In both instances, the result is the same, namely, the vines suffer from a lack of water.
Whether deliberate or not, the yields of all our vines remain at a very low level (10 – 15 hl/ha). Given the limits imposed by the intrinsic characteristics of our parcels, close pruning is generally sufficient; we prune in the gobelet style, with six one-bud spurs.
Some believe that pruning in the royat or guyot style is better for quality, but we maintain that a bush vine created by pruning in the gobelet style is better able to withstand the onslaught of the Mistral or Tramontane winds. One has to have lived through the damage wreaked by such winds to understand the thinking behind the pruning styles and vineyard orientation found in Languedoc-Roussillon.
In Fontcaude, which is better-protected than Les Boissières or Les Pradels, our Merlot vines are pruned in the double cordon de royat style.
We realise that by practicising monoculture we are transgressing some fundamental rules of ecology, but we have not used any artificial chemical products on our vines for many years. Once a year, we remove the grass in the vineyard by ploughing: this action of banking and debanking the earth around each vine (known as décavaillonnage in French) can be seen in the video.
From grapes to wine
We harvest our grapes by hand.
They are taken to the tanks in small, stacked baskets which avoid the grapes getting squashed and which allow any liquid (water or grape juice) to run away.
The grapes are then destemmed but not crushed and then transferred into tank by machine. Fermentation starts thanks to the presence of natural yeasts, and because the grapes have not been crushed, the fermentation is slow; this makes for optimum extraction of colours, aromas and flavours at all stages of the fermentation process, whatever the concentration in alcohol. Alcoholic fermentation typically lasts around 10 days for Grenache, and can exceed three weeks for Merlot. Our tanks are small (30 hectolitres), which helps keep down temperatures during fermentation. The time in tank is quite long (eight weeks for Grenache, 4 – 5 weeks for other varieties), to allow optimum extraction.
Malolactic fermentation usually happens before the end of the alcoholic fermentation.
At the end of the time in tank, the press wine is immediately blended with the free-run wine.
The micro-oxygenation that occurs naturally during the time in barrel effectively softens the tannins in the wine. Another effect of barrel-raising is the clarification of the wines, which are then bottled at the domaine without filtering or fining.