THE BIRTH OF A DOMAINE
Originally from Marseille, Rousset-Rouard family has owned the impressive "Citadelle" in Menerbes since 1980. In 1989 Yves Rousset-Rouard purchased an ancient provencale farmhouse with 8 hectares of vines and decided to throw all his passion and efforts into creating Domaine de la Citadelle and sculpting a "grand vin" that reflectes the quality and typicity of the Cotes du Luberon appellation, the youngest of the great names of the Rhone Valley Over twenty years, and through hard work, patience, strict selection of only the best vineyard parcels and by means of his son Alexis who joined him in 1995, Yves Rousset-Rouard has succeeded in creating one of the top domaines in the Cote du Luberon.
Situated on the northern slopes of the Luberon mountains, 35km east of Avignon and the confluence of the Rhone and the Durance rivers, the Domaine has a total vineyard area of about 45 hectares (110 acres) of which 40 hectares (100 acres) are in current production.The vineyard is divided into approximately 65 different parcels.The variety of soil types (clay-limestone, clay-sandstone, stony and marl), aspects and grape varieties are great advantages in the production of a rich, complex, elegant and characterful wine. The vineyard is planted with a total of 14 different grape varieties. Because we believe the character of the vineyard and the typicity of the appellation are so important, we have taken the greatest care in establishing the vineyard and ensuring the highest quality varieties.
Although Syrah and Grenache form the majority of the vineyard, since 1990 we have gradually introduced parcels of other varieties such as Roussanne, Viognier, Mourvedre and Cinsault.The climate also has a major role to play within the vineyard, being predominantly mediterranean with hot, dry summers giving excellent maturity. However, we do have sufficient rainfall to ensure good canopy development on the vines.
Our policy in the vineyard is one based strongly upon tradition. We almost do not use any chemical fertilisers or herbicides, and we place a strict limitation on the use of pesticides and treatments for disease, thus maintaining an important balance between the respect of the vine and the environment.
The yields are limited (on average to between 40 and 45 hectolitres/hectare).
The soil is worked using a hydraulic plough between each vine foot and then the base of each foot is finished by hand.
The pruning of the vines is done using the cordon de Royat system, thus limiting the number of bunches on each vine. The prunings are immediately burnt in order to avoid the incubation of any diseases in the wood.
The majority of the vineyard is trellised allowing for better photosynthesis and aeration of the bunches of grapes.
In the spring we remove a percentage of the buds from the vines in order to reduce the amount of fruit produced. This yield is further limited by a green harvest in July where a portion of the bunches of grapes on each vine are sacrificed to concentrate the sugar content in those that remain.
The harvesting is done by hand : the grapes are carefully selected and to avoid any damage to the berries transported to the winery in 25 kg cartons, where they are destemmed and crushed.
During more difficult harvests the grapes are also sorted on tables, a second time, upon arrival at the winery.
A high quality vintage is qualified by the grapes being healthy and fully mature. Here at Domaine de la Citadelle the harvest usually begins around the end of August and lasts until the end of October thus allowing us to pick each variety at optimum maturity.
VINIFICATION AND MATURATION
The winery is designed specifically to take advantage of the natural slope of the hill upon which it was constructed. Thus all the movement from reception of the fruit to the bottling are done gravity.
After being destemmed and crushed the berries fall into the fermentation vats.
All the vats are stainless steel and temperature-controlled, thus allowing us to continually monitor and adjust the temperature during fermentation.
For the vinification of the red wines, the vats are equipped with mechanical "pigeage" for punching down the cap and permitting a more favourable extraction of colour, tannins and flavour components from the skins.
The pressing of the whites and the roses is done with a pneumatic membrane press.
The "Artemes" and the "Gouverneur Saint-Auban" are both aged for approximately 12 months in oak barrels and vats.Year after year barrels and fourdres are provided by some selected coopers in order for us to do work carefully regarding the selection of the origin of woods and the obtention of the precise toast level of barrels.Regular tastings allow us to monitor the progress of each vintage.The delicate art of assembling the wines will give birth to each individual cuvee.