Built in 1881, a period of prosperity for the region, Château Mansenoble is a beautiful mansion surrounded by a garden, outbuildings and a vaulted cellar of 750 m2.
The name ‘Mansenoble’ comes from that of an old carignan plot. It originates from La Manse – an integral part of the internal organization of the great estates of France in the Middle Ages. At the time, the lack of cash prevented the payment of labor in cash. Wealth, which was essentially land-based, generated a closed economy, which made it necessary to use independent workers. Thus the great estates were divided into plots and mansions. Each ‘manse’ included its house, immediate surroundings, outbuildings and a certain area of land, freely cultivated by its occupant who paid rent.
The Huc family, an important wine-growing owner in Moux from as early as the 17th century, built the current estate.
It remained in the family until the end of 1992 when it was taken over by Guido and Marie-Annick Jansegers-De Witte, insurance brokers in Belgium.
A great wine lover and highly experienced as an oenological chronicler in Europe, he decided, at the age of 50, to abandon everything and start a new life making wine according to his own taste.
He deliberately chose the Corbières, considering it to be the French wine region with the greatest potential. Moreover, its varieties of grape varieties allow the winemakers who blend them to fully express themselves.
In January 1993 they set to work, working on three fronts: developing the house and grounds, creating and equipping the gîtes, and in particular modifying the cellar. This was tiled and painted throughout and equipped with thermoregulated stainless steel vats, a destemmer, a mobile press to be placed in front of each vat and a barrel cellar amongst other things.
Thanks to these improvements and also to the fact that, when the estate’s 36 hectares were put on sale they kept only 20, cherry-picking the best plots and grape varieties, they were able to start with quality raw material.
The results were better than expected. They were soon winning medals and attracting press articles and complimentary rankings. Even Robert Parker rates them highly, ranking them in his list of the world’s best producers.
The modernization of the cellar and the new method of winemaking brought an immediate improvement in the quality of the product but had its limitations.
Continuous improvement also took place in the vineyard. A change in the pruning method, the use of organic fertilizers, the use of wires and the inevitable aging of the youngest vines, all contributed to an annual improvement in the harvest brought into the cellar.
Knowing that most Belgians are big consumers of Bordeaux, it is inevitable that the Bordeaux influence is found in the wines of Mansenoble.
Carbonic maceration, no pumping during picking, no pumping of the lees (all is done by gravity), and complete destemming. Grapes from each individual vineyard vinified separately, long temperature controlled fermentation, light pressing, maturing in barrels, fining with egg white – everything was, and still is, done to extract the best whilst preserving the fineness of the tannins. Adding Guido Jansegers blending skills, we obtain a final product that, if we wanted to compare it to the style of Bordeaux wines, would make Mansenoble a bit like a Saint-Julien.
The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot produce very good wines, whether as varietals (Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Miramont) or blended with a little Carignan made by semi-carbonic maceration.
The enthusiasm of the press for the wines of Mansenoble makes it a stop not to be missed on the Route des Vins. When tasting in the cellar you have the opportunity to use the largest “spittoon” in the Corbières (the manger of the old stable).
Holidaymakers who rent one of the very comfortable, well-equipped gîtes will enjoy the peaceful and friendly atmosphere that reigns not only over the domaine, but also around the swimming pool.