Château d’Aussières

"Because of its exceptional geographical location, its unique wine-growing site and history, Château d’Aussières is a wild, natural site of great force and beauty". These words of Baron Eric explain why he fell in love with it and account for the partnership between Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Domaines Listel to revitalize one of the oldest and most beautiful winemaking estates in the Languedoc.

Château d’Aussières has made wine since Roman era, a period when the great properties of the "Roman Province of Narbonne" were registered in the land registry and became the main wine suppliers to Rome. In the year 92, the Edict of the Domitius Emperor, put a halt to this by requiring
the massive uprooting of vineyards in order to protect Roman production. The prosperity of the Languedoc’s wine-growing activity disappeared with the collapse of the Roman Empire and the ensuing battles between Visigoths, Franks and Arabs over the territory.

In the Middle Ages, the Church saved the vineyard and for nearly eight hundred years, Aussières belonged to abbeys. In 1065, it belonged to the Mont Laures Abbey, which was to be bought by the Fontfroide Abbey in 1211. The presence of the vines was already stipulated in the purchasing
act of 1065. Up until the French Revolution, Aussières was part of Fontfroide, in the role of a Cistercian «granary», a farm supplying the Abbey.

In 1790, when all the holdings of the Church were confiscated, Aussières was bought at auction by Count Daru, Minister and Administrator of the Private Estates of Napoleon Bonaparte. Winemaking was re-established with the planting of 80 hectares of vines.

At the end of the 19th century, the vineyard at Aussières was enlarged to meet the needs of the urban populations of Northern Europe and to compensate for the drop in production from other vineyards in France – Bordeaux in particular – touched by the crisis of phylloxera. The Languedoc itself suffered from phylloxera around 1880, but the epidemic was quickly controlled and the vineyard continued to grow. In the 1920s and 1930s, the vineyard of Chateau d’Aussières covered 270 ha, and employed 120 people who lived on the estate, which had then grown into a real wine-making village, with its own craftsmen and its own school.

From the 1950s, Aussières was swept up in the decline of the Languedoc as a credible wine producing region, and this led to the abandon of the vineyard and the departure of wine-growers. Fortunately, today, the Languedoc area has turned a new page and is gradually moving toward the production of high quality wines: Aussières is a vivid case in point.

Acquired in 1999 by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), the 550 hectare estate has undergone a vast rehabilitation programme. 167 hectares of vines have been replanted with carefully selected traditional Languedoc grape varieties: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and carignan, complemented by Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. The estate buildings were restored at the same time and a new winery installed in the old cellars, in the heart of the vineyard. State of-the-art equipment and technology are seamlessly married to time-tested methods in the production of the wine.

The maturity of the plantations and the considerable quality adjustments carried out has allowed the serene atmosphere of the former abbey to be restored. The uniformity and the remarkable potential of the vintages since 2003 place Aussières at the fore in the renovation of the Languedoc.

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