Olivier and Floriane Azan, originally from a family of apple growers near Montpellier, made the move into growing vines back in 1981 with the purchase of the Château Petit Roubié estate, which then comprised just 15 hectares. Situated in the village of Pinet, overlooking the Etang de Thau, the domaine offers a range of organically produced wines but with focus on the distinctive and increasingly sought after Picpoul de Pinet (a southern French version of Muscadet – according to many commentators). Soils are mainly a classic clay/chalk mix.
By 1995 Olivier had converted the entire estate production to organic viticulture and Petit Roubié was the first producer of organic Picpoul de Pinet. He now farms a total of 60 hectares of vines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tannat, Carignan and Sauvignon Blanc. It is the Picpoul, though, that dominates. The variety is ideally suited to the maritime terroir, reflecting its origins perfectly. Its style provides the ideal foil to the copious quantities of oysters and mussels that are farmed out of the Etang de Thau just a stone’s throw away. The variety thrives here managing to retain its vibrant acidity even under torrid summer Mediterranean sunshine. Olivier’s winemaking is meticulous but essentially uncomplicated, preferring not to resort to excessive oak influence. He aims to deliver authentic wines with honest, clean, pure flavours.