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Vin en Vacances

A short distance from Carcassonne and just outside the pretty village of Rustiques is the beautiful wine, olive and holiday estate of Château Canet. As you turn into the long drive, edged with ancient, black barked pines you instantly feel the calm and relaxing atmosphere that a holiday on this wine domaine offers. This is the place to stay for a ‘get away from it all’ week or two and if you love wine then that’s an added bonus, they make excellent Minervois wines here.

Château Canet is owned by a delightful and talented couple, Victoria and Floris who came to the Languedoc about 15 years ago to take over the wine domaine and make this region their home. Château Canet is exactly what you imagine when you conjure a vision of a wine estate. The manor house is positioned in the heart of the property surrounded by the vineyards and olive grove. Next door are the original “vignerons” lodgings that have now been converted into charming guest cottages and the traditional 19th century wine making buildings have been updated so that Floris can produce the excellent wine this chateau is renowned for.

When I am there I particularly like to visit the old stables where in times gone by the work horses would have lived. You can still see their names written above each stall and in my imagination, I can hear them munching their corn from the old stone mangers after a hard day ploughing or bringing in the harvest. These days the stables are the “aging cellar” and home to rows of barrels where the wines quietly mature until ready to be bottled and enjoyed.

The Château nestles in the Minervois which is an area that stretches eastwards from Carcassonne and is a place of fantastic beauty and with an incredible history. As you meander the area you will notice the changing Minervois landscape from one end to the other so it’s no surprise to learn there are a number of different terroir. In recent years, in an attempt to classify the terroirs and express the differences in wine styles ‘cru’ have been formed and there are more to come.  Château Canet sits in the Laure Terroir, a newly named wine district within the Minervois that takes its name from the village of Laure a short distance from the Château.

The Laure Terroir is an area that extends northwards from the River Aude in wide terraces and gentle slopes known as Balcons de l’Aude. All the slopes and terraces face east or south and get maximum exposure to the sun and some are sitting alongside the two major rivers, the Argent Double and The Ognon.  The area where the Château is located has a mellow feel with gently sloping hillsides and flatter fields, with Casots (wine-grower’s stone huts) standing at regular intervals and Capitelles huddled up against the dry stone walls.

At the Château there is a choice of nine comfortable cottages of varying sizes that can accommodate couples or family groups and of course it’s perfect if you are looking for somewhere to take the extended family or for a reunion. You might even choose to get married here as many people have including close friends of mine. You are very well cared for here and if its a relaxing holiday you are in search off this is the place. There’s no need to race off to the boulangerie each morning, the Château offers a ‘to your door’ boulangerie service so you can enjoy your morning croissant without even having to get dressed..!

Château Canet is perfectly located to explore the Occitanie region plus there is a lot to enjoy on the estate including the heated swimming pool, the tennis court and lovely herb scented trails and cycle rides around the estate and through the vineyards. Wine tasting at Canet’s tasting room is well worth doing as the wines are superbly made by Floris and his team. They produce excellent Minervois wines and a range of IGP including a magnificent Chardonnay which harks back to Floris’s wine making days in Burgundy.  Victoria and Floris also produce delicious olive oil from their olive grove that doubles as a superb picnic spot.

You are assured of a warm welcome when you come to Canet, be it for a holiday or to visit and taste their wines and olive oil. And if you choose to stay for a week or two Vin en Vacances can pick you up from there and take you to explore and discover wines from another part of the wonderful Languedoc wine region. To know more about Château Canet visit their web site.

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