Interviews

Published on January 25th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Commanderie de Peyrassol’s Alban Cacaret On Its Award-Winning Wine & Future Plans

Founded in the 13th century by the Knights Templar, the Commanderie de Peyrassol covers an area of some 850 hectares dotted with oaks and olive groves, with 93 hectares dedicated to growing grapes. Thanks to its outstanding natural location the Commanderie de Peyrassol was a favored staging post and a historically place of rest for pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, its 2018 Château Peyrassol Rose is a smart blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Rolle. Meanwhile, its 2016 Château Malescasse is a great blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. And those are just two of its recent offerings.

Since 2003 Alban Cacaret has managed the Commanderie de Peyrassol alongside his uncle Philippe Austruy, who has owned the estate since 2001. I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Cacaret about the past, present and future of the Commanderie de Peyrassol. More about the award-winning vineyard and label can be found online by visiting www.peyrassol.com.

Who or what was it that drew you into the wine industry?

Alban Cacaret: My uncle Philippe Austruy acquired Commanderie de Peyrassol in 2001 and asked me to take over the management of the property alongside him. When he visited the Commanderie for the first time, he fell in love with this place imbued in history where everything needed to be restored! He is a committed entrepreneur and builder, and his parents were doctors. He has never ceased to take up challenges to create sustainable businesses in the health sector. By acquiring the Commanderie de Peyrassol, he fulfilled a kid’s dream, but the estate was neither a whim, nor a rattle. Nor was it a child’s play compared to the work necessary to restore it to its original character.

Commanderie de Peyrassol is part of the Vignobles Austruy portfolio and following the acquisition of the Provençal estate, other properties have complemented these first steps in the world of wine since 2012. Château Malescasse in Bordeaux, La Bernarde, adjoining the Commanderie de Peyrassol, Quinta Da Côrte in the Douro and Tenuta Casenuove in Tuscany. Today all the properties form a coherent group of complementary domains, centered on the art of living and excellence.

I am originally a pharmacist, nothing predestined me for this path but I trained to be able to understand the profession of winemaker. 19 years later, it is still with the same passion and enthusiasm that I invest myself in this profession.

To you, what sets the wines of Commanderie de Peyrassol apart from other fine wines?

Alban Cacaret: Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded in all likelihood in 1204 and has always had an agricultural and wine activity. Since that date, the estate has only known 3 owners.

One of the peculiarities of Commanderie de Peyrassol is that it is built and cultivated in a natural environment which gives it a carefully protected setting. It is an exceptional terroir for rosés but also for producing marvelous reds and whites. The estate has grown considerably since 2001. It now covers more than 2,500 acres, between the town of Luc in the east and Flassans-sur-Issole in the west. A wonderful environment where vines, olive trees, white oaks, truffle oaks and garrigue form a carefully protected eco-system, welcoming remarkable biodiversity.

After extensive rehabilitation, the vineyard is now managed to optimize the expression of the wines and the perfect maturity of the grapes. It is very meticulous work, adapted to each plot, depending on the vintage.

The estate began its conversion to organic viticulture last year. These new directions were designed by Philippe Austruy and myself and led by the team of Derenoncourt Consultants as well as by our consultant oenologist Pierre Guérin. These directions determine our style of wines that is more full-bodied and taking on a better expression of the magnificent clay-limestone terroir of the Commanderie de Peyrassol.

What were some of the New York restaurants or bars that really embraced wines from Commanderie de Peyrassol early on?

Alban Cacaret: Jean Georges. Il Buco, Loring Place, Cookshop, and The Smile.

Do you have a favorite of the Commanderie de Peyrassol varieties available?

Alban Cacaret: At the estate, we make wines that are a blend of different varieties, mainly for rosés. The rosé Château Peyrassol is our signature cuvée and expresses all the elegance of the most beautiful grape varieties dedicated to rosé: cinsault, grenache, syrah with a hint of vermentino which brings a delicate complexity to this cuvée.

What is coming up for Commanderie de Peyrassol in 2020?

Alban Cacaret: New works have been initiated to offer a better hospitality experience to our many visitors, including:

– An extension of the art center
– A new welcome center with a new tasting cellar
– A new restaurant
– An improvement of the cellars
– A temporary exhibition
– A calendar of events throughout the summer season
– 5 acres will be replanted this year

Our new cuvée Blanc De Blanc was vinified for the first time in terracotta jars where it will continue to mature until March. The aging in jars reveals all the aromatic subtleties of these marvelous grape varieties, vermentino and sémillon.

Finally, Alban, any last words for the kids?

Alban Cacaret: Despite a somewhat tricky situation this past year, today we are happy to present the result of a beautiful 2019 vintage to wine drinkers in the United States. We will be able to accomplish this thanks to the excellent human, professional and friendly relationships that we have developed for over 40 years with our American partners!


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About the Author

is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He has been a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly PureGrainAudio.com).


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