Who thinks Jurançon wines are only sweet? Actually, no matter your answer, you will be interested in meeting Antoine Arraou from Château Lafitte at the forefront of the new generation of winemakers in South Eastern France .
Owned by Philippe and Brigitte, Antoine’s parents, this 14th century Manor House has been carefully brought back to life since the beginning of the 90’s to now stand as an astonishing castle on the hilltop of the beautiful city of Monein. Antoine wasn’t destined to be a winemaker. He chose to embrace a quite different path early in his life as a professional photograph. It’s only in 2012 that he came back to the estate convinced that this 5 Ha with equal part of Petit and Gros Manseng was made for great wines.
Committed to preserving the environment, he developed organic farming then biodynamic to pave the way for the most natural wines possible. For Antoine, winemaking is a question of the living, in its fullest sense, which means focusing on the biodiversity of the plots with a large variety of plants including fruit trees and cereals, ewes in winter, bees the rest of the time and of course the most eco-responsible winery possible. Thanks to the local architect Geoffroy Boulin, the winery is self-sufficient in terms of electricity. It collects rainwater and is equipped with a Canadian well. The whole winery is built on several levels to use gravity as a means to transfer wines without pumps.
« Inspired by the past, I experiment for the future » by Antoine
From the beautiful family castle on the hills of Monein, Antoine loves to look in the past to reinvent the future. For him there is no necessary need to innovate when you can adapt what worked in the past and this is why it’s completely natural for him to follow the principles of Biodynamic. It could be to let his wines during three years in demijohn, on the top of the cellar, living their lives under the sun, the rain, the wind, the cold, the heat, in other words living with the nature.. It could be fermentation and aging in half-buried amphora or in concrete ovoid egg or trying to make the old wines to teach the younger ones with the Solera principles… Antoine loves to experiment and if one thing is sure it’s that we are always really happy to be the guinea pigs!