The Domaine Boucabeille comprises 28 hectares (69 acres) of grape-vines planted on the schistose slopes of the Forca Real hill near Perpignan.
The domaine was born out of a hare-brained gamble: to replant vines on the very hillside where for centuries the best wines in the region originated. Wine growing was in fact abandoned during the 20th century as it was considered to be too laborious and unprofitable.
Replanting took place in the mid-1970s, in the heart of the scrubland and amidst a fauna and flora extremely hostile to young vine seedlings.
The outcome: 11 terraces each one hundred or so metres in length and twenty metres in width at 200 to 350 metres of altitude. The terraces are separated by paths and walkways which follow the contours of the land.
The South-Easterly orientation of the land draws in the influence of the sea and means protection from the blazing evening sun. Large outcrops of shale which date from the Paleozoic Era (400-500 million years ago) are visible across the whole of the vineyard and impress upon it its strong identity.
Now over 30 years old, the vines are fully established on the hillside: their roots grow deep into the light, permeable and dry soil. They have found the vital elements needed for growth in the humid cracks and fissures of the bedrock.
Around the vineyard are approximately 20 hectares of woods planted in the 1990s, comprising mainly Mediterranean pine and oak species. Over a hundred beehives assist with the pollination process.
It is in this environment, patiently built up over more than 30 years, far from any settlements and from any other activity, that the Domaine produces its organically-grown grapes.
The steep slopes of the vineyard means that all work in the vines is carried out by hand, which will always continue to be the case.
I limit my input during the fermentation of the must in the vats so that the wine remains the true testimony of this terrain.
Jean Boucabeille, winemaker.