Region: Corbieres, France
Soils: Clay + Limestone
Vinification: Macerated for 3 weeks
Aging: 8 months in old barrels
Fining or Filtering: None
Sulfur: None added
Notes from the Importer: Alban Michel created the winery Les Sabots d'Hélène in 2005. It is a small 5 hectare vineyard located in the Corbières seaside in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The vineyards are grown entirely organically and are completely isolated with no neighbors around them.
Alban is committed to a policy of low yield, manual harvesting, picking when slightly under mature, very gentle extractions in vinification which best respects the balance of the grape and the quality of the fruit.
Alban cultivates very old vines. The Syrah is 30 years old and the Carignan and Grenache 50 to 100 years. They are located in two places: Les Hourtoux and Terres Nègres, in Feuilla.
It is in a wild and deserted landscape of the Corbières, among invasive vegetation and collapsed stone walls that Alban Michel, native of Vosges, found his way and his promised land in Feuilla. His 5 ha of vines (rented) are spread over 8 plots, including one hectare from 1906 which produces up to 5hl.
Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache are in gobelet, Syrah in Cordon de Royat. Terres Nègres terroir is made up of degraded schist, and the other plots are on clay-limestone soils, more or less stony.
Alban produces truly natural wines that are completely free of sulfites at any stage. His philosophy is to work in the simplest and most natural way possible. He aims to make wines that are honest, affordable, easy to drink, and relevant to the character of his hometown.
Alban describes himself not as a winemaker, but as "pificulteur", the word he coined. A person who makes "pif" (French slang: simple and humble, everyday wine). He doesn't want his wine to look too serious, but he's a talented winemaker with long experience.