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Both convinced by the extraordinary potential of Languedoc-Roussillon wines , Laurent Calmel and Jérôme Joseph decided to set up their own wine trading company, focusing on wines from private cellars throughout the region. They meticulously select the grapes they vinify in their cellar before blending them until they combine the harvests of three different winemakers per... Read more

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Domaine Calmel & Joseph

INTerview with the winemaker

Domaine Calmel & Joseph belong to the new generation of winegrowers in Languedoc-Roussillon. From this mosaic of terroirs, a wine identity emerges that is unique to them. To understand it better, Jérôme Joseph answers our questions.

The revival of Languedoc-Roussillon wines

Your mission is to reveal the extraordinary potential and the quality of the various terroirs of this vast region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Creation plays an important role in the various ranges of wines that you offer. We understand that this is part of a desire to reaffirm and redefine the wines of the region, where for a long time they have been produced in quantity to the detriment of quality.

Where do you see the identity of Languedoc-Roussillon wines heading?

Jérôme Joseph: One of the great lessons of the last few years is that a new generation of winegrowers, convinced of the potential of their terroirs and tired of a production centred on wines rich in alcohol and of little interest to the palate, have demonstrated that it is possible to produce great wines in Languedoc-Roussillon, freeing themselves from the influence of the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Côtes-du-Rhône, and thus defining their own winegrowing identity. In fact, it is a logical continuation of the revolution that began thirty years ago in Languedoc-Roussillon.

The overripe, extracted, woody style inherited from the 90s-2000s still exists and works in some markets, but this young generation excels in producing wines that correspond to the personality of the region: a generous character, without imbalance or heaviness, and a Mediterranean aromatic palette. Moreover, the ambition to better identify the best terroirs of Languedoc-Roussillon and the revival of "indigenous", or at least grape varieties with identity such as Carignan, Piquepoul Noir, Cinsault, Macabeu, Grenache Gris, even Ribeyrenc, Carignan Blanc or Terret, is proving to be an excellent thing for this great wine region.

A pioneering duo

Do you consider yourselves pioneers?

Jérôme Joseph: The traditional Languedoc wine trade specialised very early on in supplying the various large national and international distributors with fast-moving wines and volume markets. It buys and blends finished wines from production, whether from cooperatives or winegrowers.

The originality of our approach is based on the identification of high potential terroirs with partner winemakers. It is with them that we vinify and mature our own wines. The relationships we build with these partner winemakers are very close, based on trust and loyalty.

These are long-term relationships built around work that begins in the plots. The choice of plots is guided by the wines we wish to make: balanced wines, without artifice, revealing the essence of a terroir. They come from vines cultivated with respect for the environment and natural vinification.

We produce one wine per vintage, which offers our customers a guarantee of a consistent wine profile throughout the year and from one vintage to another. We have the same philosophy with our customers by choosing selective partners offering quality distribution, with close and lasting relationships.

We were inspired by the great Burgundy wine merchants in our approach, which was very innovative for the region and which perhaps makes us pioneers...

The encounter

Dégustation Calmel et Joseph

You work as a duo, can you tell us about your meeting and how the project came about?

Jérôme Joseph: Originally from Languedoc-Roussillon, I have long been convinced of the strong potential of this region. Although I do not come from a family of winegrowers, wine has always fascinated me with its concrete and mysterious aspects. I trained in hotel management at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. After starting my career internationally, I came back to my native land in 1995 to develop a wine trade activity focused on foreign markets. I have designed an international future for my Languedoc-Roussillon wines. As a connoisseur of the terroirs, I let my passion for the arts of the table guide my selection and tasting work. My self-taught status allows me to free myself from preconceived ideas to better ensure that the wine fulfils its ultimate objective: the pleasure of taste and sharing.

When I met Laurent Calmel in 2007, a new future took shape. Laurent is an oenologist. He first practised his profession in Languedoc, Provence and the Rhône Valley before enriching his experience through contact with vineyards elsewhere. He worked in the United States, then in Moldavia, Chile and Australia. With this background, he returned to Europe in 2003 to make wine in the Languedoc and Spain. His work has enabled many estates to win medals, awards and citations in prestigious guides.

Having always wanted to explore the diversity of expressions of Languedoc Roussillon wines by vinifying wines resulting from a very fine selection of the plots of land that he knows well, our association was an obvious choice.

Two types of expertise

What are the particularities of each in the process of making a new wine?

Jérôme Joseph: Laurent is in charge of the entire upstream part of the creation process of our wines. He handles all the relationships and technical aspects with our partners. The final elaboration, the blending, is a close collaboration between us in order to take into consideration everything that characterises a wine as a whole: the wine and its position in our ranges, its packaging and its future.

We have to think about tomorrow, about the wines we create.

Calmel et Joseph, le renouveau des vins du Languedoc Roussillon

A marked winegrowing identity

Les vins Calmel et Joseph

How do you define the style of your wines?

Jérôme Joseph: Our wines reveal the incredible diversity of the Languedoc-Roussillon terroirs by offering us wines that are distinguished by their freshness, their tension and their impressive aromatic richness.

A mosaic of grape varieties and appellations where each wine brings a complexity linked to the soil and the climate on which it depends.

Precise and typical wines with consistency from one vintage to another.

Wines with strong personalities but linked to each other by a very singular "house" style.

Creators of great wines

How would you define a great wine?

Jérôme Joseph:  A crucial question if ever there was one!

It is true that, as with taste, the evaluation of the quality of a wine remains very personal and subjective, making a definition of a great wine rather difficult to formulate...

... Perhaps a wine that reflects its region and terroir.

... Undeniably, a wine that has structure, style and a future.

... But also, a wine that has balance, elegance, complexity and a strong personality.

And certainly...

A wine is a great wine if it is part of a story that we are not used to hearing.
Jérôme Joseph

An engaging partnership with Vinatis

Achetez le vins Calmel et Joseph sur Internet

You have an international reputation as most of your volumes are exported abroad, but your wines are still discreet in France. What are your ambitions for the French market?

Jérôme Joseph: From the beginning, our respective careers have led us to look at international markets. It is on these export markets that our networks have been built. Since 2015 and the purchase of Domaine Calmel & Joseph in Montirat, a few minutes from Carcassonne, it has become obvious to be present on the French market.

For just over two years we have been investing in sales forces such as Vinatis, events, national trade fairs and competitions to strengthen our presence in traditional and online networks.

Photo credit Calmel & Joseph ©Ludovic Charles