From pruning to your glass, and everything in between, including the press, the main objective of the Château de Rhodes team is to constantly strive for higher quality, based on improving agricultural methods and winemaking techniques while respecting traditions.
The Grapevine, because everything comes from it… The harmonious interaction of soils, location, and climate forms the necessary foundation for creating a quality product. Thanks to this exceptional terroir and the meticulous care given to winemaking, Château de Rhodes is one of the benchmarks of the Gaillac appellation. Nestled on the first slopes of the millennial vineyards of Gaillac, the Lépine family cultivates around thirty hectares of vines around Château de Rhodes in an idyllic setting reminiscent of certain landscapes in Tuscany. Some of our vines are over 60 years old, the majority ranging from 20 to 30 years, and we continue to plant local grape varieties in our quality plots. The vineyards are cultivated using organic farming methods since 2008 for red wines and since 2010 for white wines. The first “organic” wines will therefore be those from the 2011 vintage, certified by ECOCERT SAS.
– No chemical weed control, but instead soil work that allows for aeration and rejuvenation.
– No synthetic product treatments, but only controlled doses of natural products such as copper, sulfur, essential oils, clays, etc.
– No chemical fertilizers, but instead the use of natural compost and algae that gently enrich the soil and provide the vine with necessary elements when needed.
Yields are controlled through meticulous vineyard management: reasoned pruning, natural cover crops, careful shoot thinning, and thoughtful leaf removal. Harvesting takes place from late August for the ancestral method to late October for the sweet wines. It can be done mechanically or manually depending on the type of wine being produced. The average planting density is 5,000 vines per hectare.
The winemaking process is traditional and takes place in concrete tanks lined with food-grade paint. The temperature variations in these tanks are gentler compared to other types of fermentation vessels. Since the 2011 harvest, we have been allowing indigenous yeasts, naturally present on the grapes, to carry out fermentation. This approach reveals the typicity of our terroir, and we no longer work with selected yeasts. Fermentations are carefully controlled to manage temperatures.
Our wines are aged in concrete tanks for 1 to 2 years for our reds before being bottled. They are then stored in an exceptional underground vaulted cellar, consisting of two sections of Toulouse brick measuring 40 meters by 7 meters. This cellar provides excellent storage conditions for bottled wines, protecting them from light and sudden temperature changes. This cellar enables us to offer matured red wines that are ready for consumption.
We minimize the use of additives: sulfur is added sparingly and justified by analysis, fining agents such as egg, casein, or clay are only used when necessary, based on the wine’s needs. In order to preserve the aromas and structure of our wines, we do not perform tartaric stabilization in most cases and generally only conduct a single filtration just before bottling. This may result in a slight sediment at the bottom of some bottles, which does not affect the quality of the wine.
The vineyards of Southwest France are among the oldest in France, offering an unparalleled diversity of grape varieties, including some ancient ones. The complexity of the terroirs and climates, along with the distinctive grape varieties such as Duras, Mauzac, and Fer Servadou, imbue the wines of Southwest France with great authenticity. The focus on improving quality has led to wines from this region, particularly those from Gaillac, being recognized for their exceptional value for money. The origins of the Gaillac vineyard date back to the Roman occupation, and its sparkling wine was highly regarded even before the invention of Champagne. The vineyard stretches along both banks of the Tarn River, encompassing three distinct terroirs: the terraces on the left bank, the Cordais plateau, and the slopes on the right bank where Château de Rhodes is located.
Lieu dit Boissel – 81600 Gaillac
Tél. +33(0) 5 63 57 06 02 – Fax +33(0) 5 63 57 66 63