Laura Lees & Arthur Joly - Les Abrigans
Young, courageous, talented, and in love, Laura & Arthur are part of this new generation of passionate (crazy 🤪?) winemakers who have settled in the Corbières region.
Indeed it takes youth, courage, talent, and love ❤️ to establish oneself in a wine region as beautiful as it is ruthless. Nestled in the rugged hills, where scorching heat prevails in the summer and freezing cold in the winter, the vineyards can only be tended by hand. Starting to make wine in the Corbières is a bit like taking up hiking and starting with the K2 summit right away ⛰.
But then, why settle there? Glad you asked. "Because the beauty of the place spoke to me," Laura tells me, without whom the estate would have never come into existence. At the time, Laura works in an office for the French government and is about to close the sale of 90 hectares of abandoned vineyards. But then, just a few days before closing the deal for the last small hectare, the seller backs out. Frustrated at first, Laura goes back to see this parcel. With its extraordinary soils made of blue, red, orange schists, as well as ancient planktonic soils, and its incredible landscapes, the place charms Laura . She decides to buy the parcel with her unemployment benefits and paid leaves. At that time, Laura doesn't see herself as a winemaker... yet.
Around the same time, in 2015, Laura reconnects with a longtime friend, Arthur, and they fall in love with each other ⚡️ It's as clear as day for the two lovebirds that they envision a future together, but for Laura, it's crystal clear. If Arthur wants to live with her, he'll have to follow her to the Corbières. "The Cor...what?" Arthur replies, coming from the big city. Arthur, still in love as on the first day, every day, decides to give it a shot and follows her to see the "Cor...". When arriving on site, she says to him, "Here are the vineyards." He replies, "I don't see any vineyards, just rocks." 😅
However, it's two years later, in 2017, that they produce their first vintage with the support of Dominique Terrier (Dom & Terre). 1,112 bottles. Quality over quantity. A year later, despite the itinerant winemaking and the inevitable setbacks of beginnings, Laura and Arthur decide that this will be their new life . Arthur then moves his vinyl records and guitar to move into Laura's yurt. Vintage after vintage, bottle after bottle, the Abrigans (the name of their winery) grow and become known in the region and beyond for their commitment, both in the vineyards and in the quality of the final product.
Today, the estate produces almost ten different cuvées on about ten hectares, all made without additives, sulfites, or compromises, and we are proud and happy to represent them here in the Netherlands 🙏