We have a story to tell. The region's typical grapes have been cultivated on our land for over 100 years. Stories of mad and ambitious men and of course of our own philosophy today.
My love of the Provence goes back many years: the sea, the light, the culture, the land, not forgetting of course the Mediterranean cuisine and the rosé wine. On my 50th birthday, I promised myself I would fulfil the dream of owning a vineyard in the Provence. Two years later, we found the right place. In 2011, we took over the 35 hectares of Domaine des Féraud from the heirs of Louis Fournier. We, the "vignerons indépendants" are Annerose and myself, along with my four children Carlotta, Emilia, Roberta and Friedrich who give their initials to the name of our company: SARL CERF. Thank you for visiting our website: we do hope our wines will convince you. I would now like to introduce you to our company philosophy and to our team working at Domaine des Féraud.
Sincerely, Markus Conrad
The Joy of Fresh and Honest Wines
Summer is on its way! The flowers are giving off their scents, the skies are blue and the evenings are long. We make our wines for this kind of Mediterranean way of life! Fresh, fruity, dry and elegant wines: uncomplicated companions for long and mild evenings; for cheerful mealtimes and relaxed get-togethers. And, not least, because the price is right!
We particularly take our rosé wines to heart; these are the wines that have made our region world famous. In France, 4 out of 10 bottles of wine consumed are rosé wines - and the trend is on the increase. In recent years, the international wine world has been talking about the triumphant march forward of good quality rosé wines.
Why? Rosé wines without tannins are excellent to marry with difficult partners such as tomatoes, zucchini, olives, garlic, and the sharpness of raw onions, mint or red chilli. There is simply nothing better than a good rosé wine to accompany fresh salads. Also, drunken cold and fresh, they are just as uncomplicated as a grilled fish, fresh vegetables, a juicy steak or pasta and risotto for the whole family.
Enjoy the summer! too! Try our directly pressed rosé blends of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Noir and Cinsault: as an aperitif, as a party wine, or as a delicious accompaniment to a healthy, vitamin-rich, Mediterranean or vegetarian cuisine. Delight in fresh wines with wonderful flavours of citrus, white peaches, apples, pears or fresh almonds!
Discovering the "Terroir"
Our Domaine des Feraud is located in Vidauban, just 30 km from Saint Tropez, in the heart of the "Côte de Provence" wine region. This has been the home to dry rosé wines for more than 2000 years. Although our “terroir” also offers ideal conditions for red wines with character and fresh elegance. This is partly due to the soil – the sand that stores the heat and the quart pebbles - but above all, its due to the Mistral. This heavy wind regularly brings dry air from inland to our region. The resulting low humidity favours healthy vines and keeps away diseases. The mistral also blows the clouds away, allowing the sun to shine for more than 3,000 hours a year - that's a French record!
We of course pay respect to this tradition. When replanting, we concentrate on using the typical red grapes of our region for our rosé and red wines (Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cinsault). For fresh, fruity and typical white wines with no “woody” taste, we plant the white grape Rolle (Vermentino).
Respect for Nature and Organic Viticulture
Our domain offers ideal conditions for real "terroir” wines. That’s why we have consequently devoted ourselves in recent years to the return to organic viticulture ("la reconversion biologique”) and have carried out our first trials with biodynamic methods (“la biodynamie"). These include intensive soil preparation, the exclusive use of organic fertilization, refraining completely from the use of chemical pesticides and maintaining biodiversity. Take a look at the wonderful picture from May this year: poppies, grains and healthy vines, just before de-budding (“l’ébourgeonnage") took place. Biodiversity and intensive soil cultivation are the requirements for natural yeasts. In our cellars, we pay attention to the sparing use of sulphite additives (SO2). This makes our wines not only natural but also particularly digestible.
Elke Moquay - Responsable du Domaine
is our ‘good spirit’ at the Domaine in Vidauban. As "Responsable du Domaine" she ensures that everyone is working diligently and personally takes care of our clients and the administration of the domain. She has been working for our Domaine for over 20 years, knows every customer, every process and solves every problem. Just give her a call if you want to visit us or simply order some wine!
Jérôme Dufour - Œnologue
is our oenologist. Jérôme is responsible for the quality of our wines and all associated tasks: pruning, organic soil amendment, planting, analysis and, of course the harvest, the vinification and the ageing. Jérôme is President of, Oenolyse Laboratoire d'Oenologie Daniel Peraldi, near Aix en Provence. Oenolyse advises a small group of excellent vineyards throughout France. We benefit greatly from the resulting know-how and experience exchange. Especially when it comes to developments and innovations around organic cultivation and natural vinification
Voilà the philosophy of Jerôme and Daniel Peraldi: «Notre démarche oenologique s'inscrit dans la valorisation des terroirs et des vignerons, loin de toute standardisation. Notre conseil s'appuie sur l'importance donnée à la viticulture, base primaire de l'oenologie. Nous sommes à l'écoute des vignerons, de leurs besoins, de leurs objectifs pour élaborer des vins de haute qualité tout en conservant l'âme du producteur et de son vignoble«
Pierre Mosser - Maître de chai
is an Œnologist by training, passionate about viticulture and wines, with over 10 years experience in production in Languedoc-Roussillon, the Rhône Valley and Provence. Pierre shares his passion by training adults in viticulture and oenology at the CFPPA in Hyères. However, it remains essential for him to continue to develop wines. And it is with great pleasure that he collaborates with all the team of Domaine des Féraud and Daniel Péraldi’s laboratory in the search of wines of excellence, always purer, with a great respect for the terroir and as little or even no oenological additives.
Daniel Peraldi - Œnologue
advised us from the beginning. When buying the Domaine des Féraud 2011 and later as oenologist and adviser for the "reconversion biologique". We have learned a lot from Daniel, one of the best recognized of his profession in France. Daniel Peraldi was the President of the Oenologues de France for many years. Today Jérôme, his partner, is in charge at our Domaine. But once a year, Daniel, with all his experience, is still our champion: at the assemblage in his laboratory. The highlight of the year for all of us.
Laurent Aubry - Viticulteur
Has excelled for more than ten years in the work and labour of vineyards with his family business. Son of a farm worker, passionate and rigorous, he and his team accompany Domaine des Féraud throughout the year. His motto is simple: "There is no good wine without good grapes" Perfect organic fertilization, sensible pruning, healthy vines and a harvest just in time with optimal maturity; nothing escapes him. His love for work well done is rewarded by the exceptional quality of the grapes vinified at our Domaine.
Domaine de Peissonnel
Well over 100 years ago the land of today’s Domaine des Féraud belonged to Domaine de Peissonnel. When exactly the first vines were planted on our land is unfortunately not known. We only know that the owners then, the Rival Family, pursued an outlandish project on our land. They planted the wonderful Syrah, Semillion and Cabernet Sauvignon vines from Rhônetal, Graves and from the Médoc in Vidauban decades before these varieties were officially approved for the Appellation Côtes de Provence. They had evidently recognized the potential of the climate and the soil – sand, Permian sandstone and quartz pebbles – ideal conditions for wines with character and a fresh elegance.
Paul César Rival
The history of our domain has seen some extraordinary men. The first was Paul César Rival. In 1832 his parents bought him the legendary Château Guiraud at an auction in celebration of his graduation. Paul César Rival owned the Château for almost 50 years until 1981: in 1855 it had become classified as Sauterne’s Premier Cru Classé.
In regard to the history of French wine, Paul César Rival was known as an ‘enfant terrible’ and an eccentric. He is the only winegrower ever to have built an airplane runway on his vineyard. His own airplane crash onto the neighbouring Château Yquem with a self-made aircraft is indeed a legend. Obsessed with technology, he introduced the tractor to Sauternes as an alternative to the ox-cart. With ‘Le G de Château Guiraud’ he is still regarded today as the pioneer of dry sauternes. Apparently he had planted too many Sauvignon vines and had to make a virtue out of necessity. His last years in Bordeaux were however somewhat tragic: he lived as a recluse, secluded and alone.
Less well known is the fact that he used his aircraft to travel the route Bordeaux – Vidauban to the home of his parents, Marie Thérèse and Emil Rival. It was here that Paul Rival managed Domaine Peissonnel for more than 20 years until his nephew, Bernard Laudon, took over in 1955. The Rival family remained owner of the vineyard until 1978.
Domaine des Féraud
After the Rival family had left the domain, the 150 hectares of land were divided into Domaine Peissonnel (under the management of Pierre Lemaître) and Domaine des Féraud (under the management of Bernard Laudon). The approximately 86 hectare large Domaine des Féraud owes its name to a “Patrimoine Classé” from the 18th century with the name “Puits de Féraud” (well of Féraud).
In the mid1980s, Bernard Laudon sold the Domaine des Féraud to an industrialist. He continued to manage the vineyard as “responsable d’exploitation” and achieved international acclaim with his wines. The joy was, however, short-lived with several short-term changes in ownership taking place at the end of the 1980s.
Acclaim from Parker, Johnson, Winroth & Co
Despite this erratic history the wines of Domaine des Féraud enjoyed international recognition: be it in the decanter, in André Simon’s “Wines of the world” or in Hugh Johnson’s “Wine Compagnien”. In 1987, Robert M. Parker wrote: “One of the few delicious Côtes de Provence white wines is from Domaine des Féraud,…. A very interesting white wine produced from 50% Semillion and 50% Ugni Blanc… it is a creamy, tropical fruit-scented wine with undeniable character… Just like the good rosé wine produced here… and the robust, full-bodied red wine.”
John Winroth, the relentless wine critic of the New York Tribune, actually praised the Domaine des Féraud in his legendary, scathing article about rosé wines from Provence in the men’s magazine LUI in 1981: “All is not shameful in the worst of all possible worlds.”
From 1989 until 2009 Louis Fournier, over 40 years Head of the Lycée Viticole de Bordeaux Blanquefort and ‘Directeur d’Exploitation ‘ of Château Dillon in Haut Medoc, determined the fate of the domaine. In Vidauban he fulfilled a dream of owning his own vineyard and reunited Domaine des Féraud and Domaine de Peissonnel. Enthusiastic about direct sales, he concentrated solely on this type of trading. He also broke new ground: Domaine des Féraud became a pioneer for rosé wine in barrels. For his great red wine, the Cuvée Antiopolis, Louis Fournier had the grapes pressed using antique crushing methods. His project to rebuild the wine cellar, which was started in 1990, and which required the sale of large parts of the Domaine's land, remained unfinished.
The Grape Varieties at Domaine des Féraud
We do not cultivate the whole and varied range of Provencal grapes on our Domaine. We consciously restrict ourselves to the AOC varieties. Due to our Bordeaux history and the suitability of the climate and soil, we additionally maintain a few first class grape varieties which, due to the AOC regulations, can only be labelled as Vins de Pays des Maures (or IGP, Indication Géographique Protégée).
For the red “cépages principaux” (main grape varieties) of the Côtes de Provence we concentrate on Syrah, Grenache Noir and Cinsault; for the white grapes on Rolle.
Furthermore, we cultivate the three classical red grapes of Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, as well as a little Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir, Syrah belongs to the quartet of noble red grapes. It is known as the best grape of the Rhône region, famous for its dark, tannic and mature Hermitage and Côte Rotie wines. Just as those found on the steep slopes of the Côte Rôtie, this is one of the few high-yielding late grape varieties which come to terms well with barren and dry soils. The middle-sized, compact and cylinder shaped bunches carry grapes with an extremely high pigment density, thus giving wines from these grapes their very intensive colour. They impress with their wide range of scents, with notes of smoke and pepper, violet, plum, blackberry and blueberry. Good Syrah wines are also characterised by balanced, equally powerful and velvety tannins.
According to a legend, the Syrah grape was bought to Europe in 1224 during a crusade from the Iranian town of Shiraz. In 1998 it was, however, possible to prove by DNA analysis that the Syrah grape is a crossbreed of the French grapes Bureza and Mondeuse Blanche. Recently, the Syrah has become more popular, not only in France where approximately 45,000 hectares are planted with this grape. After great success in Australia, where is it known as Shiraz and is famous for full-bodied and fruity wines, the grape has continued its triumphant march into California, Chile and South Africa. Syrah seems able to transpose the quality of each growing area into wines of full aroma and character like hardly any other red grape.
Grenache Noir is a sweet grape which delivers a wine full of character but which, due to the thin berry skin, is not very dark. It originates from the former Kingdom of Aragón and is the most important red wine grape (Garnacha Tinta) in Spain and in Rioja. Grenache is considered as one of the quality varieties in the southern region of France and with a vineyard area of 100,000 hectares can be found in every “appellation” (wine-growing area) of the Mediterranean coast. In the Châteauneuf-du-Pape area, it accounts for approximately 70% of the total acreage. On its own, unblended, it is pressed to produce rosé table wine. It prefers barren, warm and stony soils and produces very storable wines, even in extremely dry climates. Being rather prone to disease, a windy climate is beneficial. The Grenache grape forms a good blend with the Syrah grape. Wines produced from Grenache are fruity and strong and develop a characteristic sweet, creamy, velvety mouth sensation with aromas of white pepper, black olive, rosemary, red fruits and plum; with age, also with aromas of mocha, chocolate or tobacco. Due to its high sugar content, Grenache is also used to produce ‘Vins Doux Naturels’, for example in Banyuls, near the French-Spanish border.
Cinsault is only cultivated on about 30,000 hectares of land in France and worldwide on about 45,000 hectares. This large, succulent and dense grape originates from Languedoc. With its aromas of peach, raspberry and strawberry, as well as its mild and slightly acidulous taste, the variety is perfect for summer rosé wines.
The best of Cinsault is obtained on barren, dry soils. The grape provides a typical blend with Grenache and Syrah as well as with the red wines from ‘appellations’ (wine areas)/such as Minervois, Lirac or Châteaneuf-du-Pape. This variety offsets the colour intensity of Syrah and the alcohol content of Grenache grape and ensures for softness and harmony in the blend.
Cabernet Sauvignon is considered to be the world star of wine. The small, hard skinned grape is the most popular of all red varieties. Its aromatic complexity, as well as its level of tannin, and therefore its aging potential, brings it acclaim throughout the whole world. Worldwide, from Moldavian to South Africa, there are at least 170,000 hectares planted with Cabernet Sauvignon. A DNA analysis carried out by the famous Wine University of Davis in California revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon is most probably a cross between Cabernet franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape possesses a high concentration of tannin and colour pigments. With its thick skin and many pips, the pure Cabernet Sauvignon grape can be somewhat hard and charmless. Its optimal expression is therefore reached in a blend with the fruity, thinner-skinned Merlot grape, or with the Cabernet Franc grape, which lends the blend freshness and fragrance. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is characterized by scents of green pepper, blackcurrant, leather, cedar, spices and dark chocolate. It requires warm soils in order to achieve the ideal degree of ripeness.
Cabernet Franc is the noblest red wine grape of the Loire. Particularly in Bourgueil or Chinon, it has been appreciated since the time of the Epicurean Rabelais for its aromas of raspberry, currant and liquorice, as well as its balanced structure of fine and smooth tannins. Cabernet Franc and the almost extinct variety Magdeleine Noire des Charentes are the parents of Merlot. In Bordeaux and in the South of France, the Cabernet Franc plays only a - although very valued - supporting role as junior partner in different blends. One exception is the famous Château Cheval Blanc where the share of Cabernet Franc amounts to about 60%. The tannins of the Cabernet Franc grape are more appealing than those of the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, rendering young wines more velvety and giving them more finesse. Wines produced from this grape have a good aging ability. It is also cultivated in northern Italy, Australia, California and New Zealand.
Merlot became one of the most popular grapes worldwide in the 20th century. Whether in France or Australia, in California or Ticino, the resistant Merlot grape adapts perfectly to very different soils and climatic conditions and yields a fast maturing, soft and full-bodied wine. With approximately 200,000 hectares of vineyards worldwide, of which 100,000 hectares are to be found in France, this grape is no.1 on the list of global wine-growing areas. It thrives on deep, colder soils such as those found in the Bordeaux region (Pomerol and St. Emilion). Merlot wines are known for their beautiful deep red colour and their varied range of aromas with notes of slightly spicy red fruits and plum, as well as for their strong yet tender structure with silky tannins.
Rolle is one of the most demanding and stand alone varieties of Mediterranean white wine that will certainly receive more attention over the coming years. At present, Rolle is cultivated on about 7,000 hectares mainly in Provence, Italy and on Corsica. Rolle is presumably a Malvasier variety which was firstly brought to Corsica from Madeira via Spain and thereafter, in the 14th century, from Spain to Liguria, Italy. The grape is called Vermentinu on Corsica and in Italian (on Sardinia) it is called Vermentino. In Italy, Vermentino wines are full-bodied and very aromatic with fruity, flowery scents, such as melon, aniseed or even mimosa. In the Provence, the wines rather develop notes of citrus fruits, green apple, fresh pear and lime wood. White wines which are ideal with grilled fish and the Mediterranean cuisine. With its high sugar content, this variety is also suitable to be eaten as a table grape.
Rosé Wine Production
Part of the reason that rosé from Provence has been so dominant in the conversations about rosé, is because of the way the wines are procduced. Rosé is less terroir-driven than white or red wine. The final product is much more contingent upon the choices the winemaker decides during the production process - from the grape varieties selcted, to when the grapes are picked, to the length of time the juice is in contact with its skins (which determines the colour), to the extraction process. In principal, there are two different methods of producing rosé wines. At Domaine des Féraud – as in general nowadays in Provence – we use the “press method”. As such we ferment rosé wine in the same way as white wine where the red grapes used lose their pigments during pressing. The second method, the so-called “Saignée method”, begins by fermenting rosé wine in the same way as red wines.
In both methods, the vinification process begins with separating the grapes from the vine stems. This is done to prevent the stems from giving the wine a grass-like taste – undesired for rosé wines - or giving up bitter tannins. We use the latest techniques in destemming. With our Bucher Delta Vistalysis not only are the grapes gently destemmed and sorted, they are also opened and pre-juiced to extract the pigments from the skins.
During the “Saignée method” a short primary fermentation period of the must takes place in a tank. During the “press method” fermentation takes place at a low temperature over several hours in an airtight container with both the grape skin and the juice. Carbon dioxide is added at this stage in order to set free natural fruit aromas. The separation of the skins and the must requires careful expertise in order to prevent the plant taste being released from the pips and allow the juice to keep its entire fruit taste. The more careful the pressing, the more subtle and fine the rosé wine will be. In order to prevent oxidation during the contact phase or the pressing phase – which would lead to loss of aroma or a brown colouring of the juice – we use the most modern method for this part of the process (Bucher Inertys).
The next part of the process, which also takes place in the stainless steel tanks, is a first fining of the juice. Fining takes place before the main fermentation. During this phase the undesired plant residue or skins that are still in the must sink to the bottom and remain as sediment in the tank. After this the fermentation of sugar to alcohol takes place, either via the existing natural yeast on the grape skins or by the addition of selected yeasts. Thus grape becomes wine.
During blending, we ‘marry’ the different wines, until now aged in different containers, to produce our three rosés: Cuvée Spéciale, Cuvée Tradition and Cuvée Prestige. Only the interplay of several varieties ensures complexity and richness of flavours.
The ensuing aging takes place in tanks as opposed to in wooden barrels. We place great value on conserving the fullness of the fruit taste and the freshness of the wine.
Finally, about six months after the harvest and after any further necessary filtration, we bottle our wines under stringent hygienic and completely germ-free conditions on the Domaine.
Awards and Wine Medals
We are of course very proud of the recognition we have received over the last years.
Awards such as the Guide Hachette (Coup de Coeur), the Union des Oenologues (Grand Prix d’Excellence Vinalies) or the medals won at the "Concours Général Agricole de Paris", "Concours Internationale de Lyon" or "Concours des Vins de la Foire d'Avignon" are an incentive for us and confirmation that we are on the right track. For you, they are a kind of insurance for good and typical Côte de Provence wines evaluated by experts and, above all, by neutral organisations.