About Sainte Marie des Crozes
The Alias family have run their wine business from the small, windmill adorned village of Douzens, about ten miles east of the historic town of Carcassonne in the Aude department. Today the business is run by Bernard and Dominique Alias who took over in 1997; their daughter Christelle is the winemaker.
In 1997, there was an economic crisis for local winemakers, yet Bernard wanted to prove himself worthy of the land that he had inherited. The road was long; he sought technical advice before replanting and restructuring the vineyard. Over 13 years, 50 acres were replanted to improve the quality of the grapes: for example vine density was set at 2500 vines per acre. At the same time the production equipment was modernised.
The grapes for their domain wines come from vineyards on the Alaric mountain terroir, mostly limestone and chalk, the result of geographical upheaval, the Alaric, with its strips of bare rock running along its length, sits like a brooding animal over the Aude Valley between Carcassonne and Narbonne. At the northern end of the Corbières region, the vineyards here produce very ripe, high-quality grapes.
The range is named after Alaric II, the Visigoth King who battled the Franks in the 5th century. Local rumour has it that he left a vast treasure buried in the caves beneath the mountain. For good measure, the riches of Solomon and Caesar are said to be buried there too.
Bernard is keen to preserve the environment and vineyards for the next generation; the estate has been a member of the independent French organisation Terra Vitis for the last ten years. Terra Vitis members seek to integrate all the factors in the environment: man, the soil, the plant, the countryside, the flora and the fauna in an effort to symbiotically preserve the natural environment and human health: transparency and traceability are key corner stones of Terra Vitis. The estate wines have been certified as organic since the 2011 vintage.