An island meets the mainland
The unique terroir of La Clape still stubbornly refuses to reveal all its secrets, but at least we've managed to find some things out. Records show that 600 years ago La Clape was an island off the coast but, over time, geological deposits of the River Aude finally joined the 17 km long and 8 km wide range of hills to the mainland. The result is an island of biodiversity, where today 30 wineries cultivate a total of 1000 hectares of vineyards. Barren soil and a Mediterranean climate - the terroir of La Clape is perfect for producing top-class wines. Today, La Clape produces AOP wines from old-established red varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan as well as the white Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Piquepoul, Rolle and Roussanne grapes. The vines are rooted in limestone hills with altitudes between 20 and 250 metres above sea level. Depending on the location, the soil composition varies and the predominantly porous limestone mixes with sandstone, marl or even slate. The climate at La Clape is distinctly Mediterranean, with hot and dry summers. But the heat is tempered again and again, for example by the «Cers» - a cool, dry north wind - or the «Marin», which carries moist air from the sea up to the vineyards. At just 568 millimetres per year and square metre, rainfall is extremely low.
AOP La Clape
Languedoc is the largest wine region in France. With just 1000 hectares of vineyards, La Clape is a small oasis in the midst of the 250,000 hectares of vineyards in the «Midi» region of southern France. La Clape wines have been bottled under the AOC Coteaux de Languedoc since 1985. With the 2011 vintage, the small region made it into the highest and exclusive class of the "Grand Crus" of Languedoc. Since 9 June 2015, La Clape and Château Laquirou have been among the best wine-growing regions in France, following official confirmation by the French wine authority INAO. Our wines are now marketed under our own appellation «AOP La Clape». At this point, the designation AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) changed to AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée). Everyone at Château Laquirou is particularly proud of this achievement.
A natural phenomenon with depth
Only two kilometres from Château Laquirou, the Massif de la Clape reveals a unique natural phenomenon - «Le Gouffre de l’Oeil Doux». A walk of about half an hour will take you through a rocky garrigue landscape with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean. Suddenly, a circular abyss opens abruptly before your eyes and a mysterious emerald-green lake shines tranquilly at the foot of the 40-metre-high limestone chasm. Climb down a few metres into the aperture and the silence is deafening! Although only one kilometre from the sea, it contains fresh water, though no one knows precisely where it comes from. Years ago, the marine scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau tried to solve the secret of L'Oeil Doux - but without success. Due to underground water currents, the lake is considered dangerous, so bathing is prohibited.
Mysterious crater lake: L'Oeil Doux