Vignobles Fabien Castaing

Lunar calendars, good vibrations and the Hippocratic Oath


Since 1898, the men and women of the Castaing family have tended their vines in the village of Cunèges, on the Dordogne, with each generation adding its own stamp and further developing the assets and skills to be passed on. Its wines are a true representation of the South-West, an expressive extract of Bergerac, Monbazillac and Périgord, created with a deep respect for nature at their heart. Under the current leadership of Fabien Castaing and his wife Laetitia, this very special winery has grown in size, as well as pursuing some fascinating new directions.

“The Domaine de Moulin-Pouzy has been the historic property of my family since 1898,” says Fabien. “At first, my ancestors acquired one hectare of vines for good care given to a neighbouring owner. However, the winegrowing adventure of this old water mill began after the Second World War, when a family member had the crazy idea of transforming this polyculture into monoculture and selling their wine by bike!”

Fabien Castaing

Today, the property covers 54 hectares of vines, cultivated through organic farming and certified High Environmental Value 3 (HVE). This includes Fabien’s purchase in 2016 of Château Les Mailleries, an 11-hectare property, certified in Organic Agriculture since 2004. Nestled at an altitude of nearly 150m in the towns of Sigoulès and Thénac, this exceptional site boasts rich soils containing limestone, flint, clay and boulbène. It is planted with a diverse range of grape varieties, making it possible to produce rich and complex wines.

But perhaps Fabien and Laetitia’s greatest contribution to the family legacy has been the decisive push not only toward organic viniculture, but also to a more holistic view of winemaking and its relationship with the Earth. Laetitia talks passionately about their efforts to create a good, fulfilling environment in every area from HR to providing woodland walks for visitors.

In terms of the viniculture itself, the winery subscribes to a ‘bio-organic’ methodology, as Laetitia explains: “We try to harness natural energy in the vineyard – for example we use a lunar calendar, and try to keep everything connected to the rhythms of the Earth and the Moon. 

“Wine is such a natural product that of course it is sensitive to the energies that go into its creation. It’s like how doctors have the Hippocratic Oath – you can’t give treatment to someone if you don’t think they are in a good place and you will only make their condition worse. Similarly, if you work with energy, it’s not magical, but if you’re coming from the right place you can put good vibrations into the wine, and maybe you can feel that on the taste. You drink wine with friends to be happy, so surely it should be made in the same spirit?”

This special winery, in the heart of a very traditional winemaking region, doesn’t stray far from the traditional line-up of grape varieties, and has chosen to limit the amount of technological intervention in its processes. So, when you crack open the bottle and take your first sip, ask yourself if you detect something unusual, something hard to properly pin down. That might just be the taste of good vibrations.

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