Clos Le Joncal in Saint Julien d’Eymet, is one of a handful of vineyards in the Bergerac wine region making orange wine. “Orange wine?” I hear you say. Well yes, believe it or not, it exists and it’s good!

Orange wine is not wine made from oranges. It is also known as skin-contact white wine and is a type of wine made from white wine grapes where the skins are not removed but are left with the juice of the grapes for 45 days. Normal white wine production involves crushing the grapes and quickly moving the juice off the skins into the fermentation container. The skins are not desirable for a traditional white wine. However, skin contact is an important part of red wine production. So orange wine, is an unusual process that uses the method used to make red wine, but with white grapes.

Bold and intense

Having experimented with the skin-contact method since 2020, Clos Le Joncal produced its first orange wine in 2022 and now produces around 1,200 bottles of it per year. Called “Quadricolor”, it is totally organic and goes well with an old cheese, fish or Asian food/sushi. To taste, it is bold and more intense than a traditional white.

Clos le Joncal also makes five other types of white and red, high-end wines which are available in normal 75cl bottles as well magnum size. Please refer to their website for further details.

Visitors to the vineyard are welcome by appointment, Monday to Saturday from 10h00-18h00. In the summer, the owner likes to take visitors out into the vineyards (takes approximately ½ hour) to explain in more detail how the vineyard works with its constant respect for the environment. All visits are free and without any obligation to buy.

A little bit of background

Tired of a busy career in web design in Bordeaux and Paris, in 2012 Romaric Tatard decided to change the course of his life and do something that made more sense to him. The decision was made to eventually take over the family vineyard in Saint Julien d’Eymet, Clos Le Joncal.

But before he could do that, Romaric took seven years to prepare himself for his new adventure. After studying wine, he then worked in some of the most prestigious vineyards in the Bordeaux region where, little by little, he really got to understand the savoir-faire of making quality wine. The knowledge he gained there, he brought back with him to the family vineyard which, since 2019, he has run with his mother.

The vineyards of Clos Le Joncal span nine hectares across undulating countryside just south of Bergerac. Five hectares are dedicated to red grapes and four to white, all organic since 2006.

Romaric is charming and very welcoming. He is someone who appears to be happy with his decision to change the course of his life and doesn’t consider what he as does as work. He has a passion to make good quality wine all the while respecting the environment. He’s also a great believer in keeping things local. Romaric is behind the very successful “Apéro Cadix” which takes place in Eymet on four Thursday evenings in the summer in the garden by the castle. And when I met Romaric, I was happy to see him off to do a wine tasting with a future bride and groom who were looking for local wines for their wedding in Dordogne next year.