France, Laguedoc-Rousillon, Corbieres

Xavier Ledogar has worked this 18.5 hectare domain since he was 12 years old, and took complete control over it in 1997, changing its name from Domaine Grand Lauze to Domaine Ledogar. The vineyards here, in the Boutenac terroir near Carcassonne, are spread around the village of Ferrals-les-Corbières. In 1998, one of his first changes Xavier made to the family domain, of which he was of the fourth generation of custodians, was to stop selling the grapes to the local co-op and instead use them to make outstanding wines himself.

Xavier was joined by his brother, Mathieu, in 2004, (and Benoit in 2018) and they rapidly converted the vineyards to abide by biodynamic principles, such as using the lunar calendar and herbal and plant teas as fertilizers. Instead of machinery, horses are used to plough the fields, and donkeys keep the weeds in check. Domaine Ledogar was certified organic by Ecocert in 2006.

Their 18.5 hectares of vines, of which there is a spectacular variety, are now treated in a thoroughly new way using these methods. But the history is still there, with main vines of Carignan and Grenache being between 60 and 120 years old. One of the most celebrated cuvees is La Mariole, made with Carignan vines first planted in 1901.

As Xavier told a conference in New Delhi in 2016, “Our wines are meant to be shared – they are for friends and long-winded conversations.”