You'll find the Domaine de l'Hortus in a valley at the heart of the wild garrigue some 30 kms to the north of Montpellier. The Pic Saint Loup legend was born here. Nestling at the heart of the terroir, the limestone scree covered craggy slopes of the Pic Saint Loup and the Hortus plateau have, over the centuries, evolved to form today's complex geology and protect the land from turbulent climatic variations.The property thrives in this remarkable environment. It's a unique terroir, the emblem for the Appellation and the country, where man has lived since time began. The Orliac family made their home here, devoting passion, knowledge and patience to their sole ambition : to bring this corner of paradise to life whilst creating one of the Languedoc's best wines.
Thanks to its unusual setting between the Mediterranean and the Cevennes mountain range, the Domaine benefits from both. From the sea comes the Marin (south wind) which brings in gentle weather and humidity, whilst from the other direction, the northwind brings cool, dry air.These two elements give the Domaine its very special gentle Mediterranean climate which blends with high rainfall and constant freshness.
There are both red and white grapes growing in the Hortus vineyard which currently covers a little over 60 hectares (150 acres). Mostly planted in the Fambétou coomb, its boundary to the north is the rocky cliff face of the Hortus plateau (facing due south), whilst to the south it's the northern face of the Pic Saint Loup.
The red vines are mostly planted on hillsides: Syrah is to be found to the north in the shade of the Pic Saint Loup where it benefits from cooler, more humid weather which suits its shorter growth cycle. On the south facing Hortus slopes thrives the Mourvèdre, a later ripening grape with a longer growth cycle which needs strong sun to reach full maturity. The Grenache grapes, which require more general exposure, grow lower on the hillsides.
Cooler land parcels for the white vines are mostly to be found lower down in the valley where the air can be quite cold, especially during spring mornings; this means a slower growth cycle resulting in better acidity in the grapes without affecting their phenolic maturity.
REGION OF PRODUCTION
Pic Saint Loup
From the sea comes the Marin (south wind) which brings in gentle weather and humidity, whilst from the other direction, the north wind brings cool, dry air.
Brown soil formed from limestone scree dating from the Cretaceous period
Manual and mechanic
Syrah, Mourvédre, Grenache
AGES OF VINES
BEHIND THE WINES
The Domaine d l'Hortus team consists of four siblings - Marie, François, Yves and Martin Orliac.
Towards the end of the year 2000, François was the first of the three boys to return home: his role was to manage the vineyard. Soon afterwards came Marie, the only daughter, trained in law she took on the legal and accountancy side of the property. Then Yves arrived a year later to become responsible for the commercial side and finally Martin, with experience gained in Japan, joined the others to handle the vinification part of the business. With their teams they had a common purpose, a desire to achieve excellence whilst perfecting the work their parents had handed down to them.