This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Red Languedoc-Rousillon under £15 went to Domaine Modat, Comme Avant, Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Caraman, 2011 (15%)

Tasted against:

  • Calmel & Joseph, Les Terroirs, Corbières 2012
  • Château le Bouis, La Cigale, Corbières 2012
  • Tesco Finest, Carignan, IGP Côtes Catalanes 2013

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In 2007, on hearing of the retirement of an ageing grape grower who used to sell his fruit to the local co-operative, the Modat family stepped in and bought his vineyard, dotted with some vines more than 100 years old.

From the outset Henri Modat decided to work the land organically and in 2012 the domaine went one step further and now adheres to biodynamic practices. Modat is assisted today by his son Philippe and cellarmaster Laurent Albet.

Comme Avant (‘as before’) is a blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache – the concentrated Carignan coming from vines planted in 1905, 1922 and 1930. Although the parched land proves a harsh environment in which to grow grapes, it is this factor that Modat says makes the end product so great: ‘The challenge is to succeed in making fresh, elegant wines in an area scorched by the sun. The paradox is that our site is a really hard place to grow vines, but this hardship brings something to our wines. The winds combat disease and cool the vines, and the dry soil makes the roots dig deep to the find water.’

Written by Decanter