Sitting on the terrace of my motel at Village Castigno, a wine motel inside the foothills of the Haut Languedoc Regional Nature Park in the South of France, I’m sipping a tumbler of Château Castagno merlot. It becomes made in La Cave, a motive-built wine cellar not some distance from right here, with grapes grown on these very hills – and I have the awesome sense that I actually have arrived in a few kinds of the fairy-story city.
The tale of Village Castigno is a fairy-story in itself. When Belgian husband-and-spouse crew Marc and Tine Verstraete determined to purchase a hundred and fifty hectares of the Saint-Chinian vineyards within the Assign an (on the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon place), they ended up creating plenty extra than their Château Castagno wine label.
Finding themselves in want of accommodation for seasonal employees who would descend each summer at hand-pick organic grapes, they decided to buy some houses within the 1/2-deserted town down the street.
This selection proved popular and, over time, they’ve sold 12 homes at the side of diverse tracts of land for production. By 2016, they had breathed so much life lower back into the village that they determined to show it into a tourism agency.
Today, Village Castigno has 118 permanent population, lots of whom are employed full-time through both the motel, La Cave, or by using one of the 3 eating places: Le Thaï, La Petite Table and the Michelin-starred La Table.
Fifteen unique forms of grapes are grown on the vineyards surrounding the hotel, and these integrate to create a number wines which all evoke the affection and interest that has long gone into choosing and squeezing every character berry.
On my first night, I even have the opportunity to sample some of those at Le Thaï. The peppery merlot matches flawlessly with my veal tongue with celery sauce, at the same time as the sprint of elderflower inside the Grâce des Anges Rosé Blanc brings to existence my gingery fried fowl.
Village Casino is proudly WiFi-loose, forcing visitors to depend on that age-old way of life of communique and storytelling – and with each of the restaurant body of workers dwelling in the village full-time, there are masses of stories about Village Casino to move around.
The subsequent day, I wake shiny and early to meet Sahirah, Village Castagno’s yogi-in-residence, who enables me to get over the night before with an hour of light stretching. Her workplace, so to talk, is the 350-yr-old rural house, Le Petit Pêche, which has been converted into an intimate and different-worldly rubdown studio, unfold over 3 floors. The décor, sourced from Tibet, appears ethereal and mysterious on this pocket of France.
A 10-minute stroll away, La Cave is the center of life within the village. Purpose-built with the aid of maverick Belgian architect Lionel Jadot (quality known for regenerating the JAM lodge in Brussels), every characteristic of the building inspires an appreciation of wine. The outdoors is clad totally with Portuguese cork bark, the principal gallery is suspended on concrete vines punching out of the floor, while the constructing itself, considered from above, is within the form of a wine bottle.
Grapes grown without pesticides are plucked from their stems with the aid of hand and transported to the winery on horseback, and nothing is going to waste. (The extra wine residue even unearths its way to a brewery in Belgium, in which it’s miles fermented and became beer.)
This part of France switches dramatically from softly undulating hills to vast, craggy mountains, and a Vespa ride is a nice manner to explore. The historical roads may not have been constructed with motorized scooters in mind, however, they supply although – although I do take more care operating my manner down the hairpin turns no longer to look over the steep edges.
Returning to the village, it’s time for the very last stop on my adventure; a five-path tasting menu with wine pairings at Michelin-starred restaurant La Table. The brainchild of Belgian brothers Ruben and Peter De Maesschalck, this immaculate and engaging farm constructing on the edge of metropolis brims with strength.