The upper Aude Valley, the Languedoc's highest vineyard, sees a late spring and cool autumns; it lies at over 300 metres altitude and gets about 750 mm rainfall.
It's the prefect site for Chardonnay, Pinot and Merlot.
Roquetaillade is one of the valley's highest village sites and the most westerly in the Languedoc.
This spot is a meeting point of positive influences: favourable climate due to altitude and late-ripening clay soils (what's negative in northern borderline zones for growing vines, becomes a plus in the south for acclimatising early-ripening varieties and thus delaying ripening) coupled with skilled determined people. A magic touch...
Since Jean-Louis Denois put Roquetaillade on France's fine wine map, 4 estates now fly the flag for this village. You usually find many producers from this area in the Limoux section of wine guides.
Roquetaillade is blessed with stunning terrain with a fascinating geological history.
The soils developed from limestone deposits from the sea, which are very homogenous and typical of great terroir e.g limestone in Burgundy or chalk in Champagne. Clay-limestone soils formed, where the water-holding clay ensures good supply even in summer: vines in Roquetaillade don't suffer from lack of water.
The dramatic formation of the Pyrenees created a sheer rocky landscape with well exposed sites that favour drainage of excess water suitable for making high quality wine.
The clay is very deep across the vineyards. Ploughing and working the soil organically force the plants to grow roots deep down to find water and nutriments.
Although these elevated wine-lands get more rain in winter and spring, the upper Aude Valley enjoys a Mediterranean climate in summer, like all of the Languedoc's best sites, with guaranteed sunshine and warm dry summers. But it's also affected by two blustery winds that get stronger between the Pyrenees and Massif Central mountains. These winds, the Cers from the west sea breezes from the Mediterranean, blow alternately, often very strong, aerating the vines. These are Nature's best weapon against diseases.