Jean-Pierre Cabanes was a member of the Saint-Saturnin village cooperative for many years until, in 2001, he struck out on his own, ably assisted in the wine-making process by his daughter Marie, and in the cave by his wife Marie-Claude. Over the last few years, Jean-Pierre has handed over the reins fully to Marie - not that you would know it, because the wines are just as good as ever. In fact, they may even be better - bravo Marie! And when you taste these lovely wines, it is not hard to see why.
In an appellation that is still largely dominated by the co-operative, Domaine d'Archimbaud is one of just a handful of private growers in Saint-Saturnin. The oak-matured Robe du Pourpre 2001 was immediately awarded a star in the Guide Hachette, and subsequent vintages have also been starred. Indeed, with each successive vintage, the wines just get better and better. Whilst unmistakeably Languedoc, the flavours in the wines produced at Domaine d'Archimbaud tend to the more “cool climate” style. The village is situated in the sub-region or "terroir" known as Terrasses de Larzac, in the foothills of the Causse du Larzac, a limestone plateau on the southern edge of the Massif Central. Here the altitude is higher (500ft above sea level) but the climate is different - the days are still sunny and hot, but the nights are cooler than the more coastal and low-lying regions of Languedoc, allowing for a slightly longer growing season. The resulting wines possess great finesse, balance and complexity.
The grapes at Domaine d'Archimbaud are mainly Syrah and Grenache, with a little Mourvedre and Carignan (10% of the blend) adding further dimensions and interest. The vines average around 30 years of age and yields are restricted to around 30 hl/ha. Although the red wines have top billing here, the rosé is also noteworthy for the fact that it is a vin de pressurage – in other words, it is made from a direct pressing of the red grapes, unlike most rosés made from the “saignée” method, which is a by-product of the red winemaking process. There is also a delicious Viognier-based white. We are proud to have the wines of Domaine d'Archimbaud on our list and, several years down the line from their first vintage, there is no let-up in the quality, finesse and enjoyment in these terroir-laden wines. And even now that 2001 Robe du Poupre is still evolving and drinking beautifully!