In the mid 1980’s, François and Jacques Lurton, originally from the ‘Entre Deux Mers’ region, are on the lookout for new vineyards for the family production. They learn of the wonderful potential of the ‘terroirs’ of southern France. They start to purchase for their varietal wines, that are distributed the world over, and establish privileged relationships with numerous wine makers in the area. In 1996, François falls in love with the Grenache wines from Mas Janeil and in 2008 he goes on to buy the property. The ‘terroir’, composed of schist, allows the bunches to reach a perfect state of maturation, which in turn, gives the wines flavors of cherry and wild spices, concentration and elegance.
In 1996, captivated by the Vallée de l’Agly and its stunning landscapes, the two brothers took the plunge and rented an estate by the name of Mas Janeil, with land spread between Maury and Tautavel. The old Grenache vines of this estate very quickly showed all their potential as well as their diff erent characteristics. As the Mas Janeil vineyard straddles a geological fault, there is a wide variety of diff erent types of soil. At the foot of the Château de Quéribus, the soil is essentially composed of limestone and granite, whereas the “Pas de la Mule” land features considerable shale. After ten years of tax farming, François eventually bought Mas Janeil in 2008. He built a new wine storehouse on this site and partially reinstalled an old irrigation system. The production alternates between “single-terroir” and blended wines.
The property extends over 70 hectares with 24 hectares planted with vines. It is located in the commune of Tautavel which lies in the Pyrenées -Orientales, northwest of Perpignan. This is Cathar country and the historic Château de Queribus overlooks the estate. The Mas Janeil vineyard is an unusual place, with no agricultural capacity, where the vine has to send its roots deep into the earth to find nourishment.
The climate is Mediterranean with hot dry summers and mild winters. Rainfall levels are extremely low and mostly fall in the winter months leaving the vines to suffer in the arid soils from hydric stress during the hot summers. The vineyards are constantly buffeted by the wind, either the cold, dry “Tramontane” wind coming from the North West, or the hot and humid “Marin” wind coming from the Mediterranean Sea.
The planting density is low at around 3600 vines per hectare. The vineyards are planted with 50 years old vines of Grenache (60%), Carignan (30%), Syrah and Mourvedre. The vines are gobelet (bush) trained to help the vines combat the dry conditions. They are planted on sunny steep south-facing slopes and are surrounded by ‘la garrigue’ scrubland. Yields are very low of concentrated grapes of around 25 hl/ha. The vineyards are planted in squares (1,75m by 1,75m), as was customary in the past, long before the arrival of mechanisation, as the horses and ploughs were able to work the vineyards in both directions.
The «terroir» is exceptional, composed of stones from the slow erosion of the Corbières hills. Thanks to the varied schists, shale, sands and large limestone rocks, the grapes are able to reach perfect levels of ripeness.