Meet the winemaker: Distillerie et Domaine Cazottes


3 min read

Laurent Cazottes and Joanna Dubrawska run a distillery and winery in Southwest France's Midi-Pyrenées, which is home to over a thousand years of fruit and vine growing traditions. They make eau de vie, liqueurs and wine using organically grown fruits and sustainable vinification methods. 

We spoke to Joanna after including one of Cazottes' wines in our selection for RAW WINE Club. We hope you enjoy reading our conversation.

Can you tell me about your background and how you started out making spirits?

I'm from Poland originally and my background is in PR. I moved to Sicily where I was still working in PR, but for Azienda Agricola COS, where I worked for five years. After this, I moved to France and started to work with Philip Gimel in Provence, and then I started to make wine for Laurent and Cazottes. Today, one of my roles for Cazottes is winemaking and I also manage the vineyards. The wines and spirits we make share the same philosophy, and Laurent always wanted to make the spirits and liquors in the same way as wine, you know with vintages and concentration of the taste, with no additions - just the pure taste of the fruit. Laurent's family has been making wine for generations, at first just for themselves, then the first proper vintage was 2012. And the spirits started in 1998. 

He followed in his father's footsteps, but his father was kind of a moonshiner, selling fruit to other people around the villages. When Laurent started, he decided to make it himself at home. He started working organically in the field and the cellar. Today we have four hectares of vineyards and around 11 hectares of different fruits, still working organically and using biodynamic treatments. We try to manipulate the wines as little as possible. But our main problem for many years is the malolactic fermentation, starts at the same time as the alcoholic fermentation which can make the wines volatile. It's not always possible to make wine without any sulfur, but we try to when we can.

We've got a very small cellar which was Laurent's grandfather's, and sometimes collaborate with local producers working in the same way as, us as we don't grow an enormous amount of grapes. For example we get the Mauzac Blanc for this wine from a local producer, but are present for harvest and throughout vinification.

Some of the vines.

Can you tell me about some of the other drinks you make?

Laurent started working on spirits in 1998 and always worked with a huge focus on organic fruit and knew how important this is for the distillation process. All it is, is concentrating. So if you use chemicals on your fruits, you're also concentrating the chemicals as you distill it, which will come out in the final laboratory analysis. With industrial distillates, you'll find a lot of chemicals, so it's really important for us to work in this way and more people are starting to work in an organic, artisanal way. But the problem for lots of people working artisanally is that they're still using industrial alcohol as the base and calling it organic. We use our own brandies as the base, which is made organically from the grapes we grow.

Visit Distillerie et Domaine Cazottes' RAW WINE profile to learn more about the winery and discover which RAW WINE fairs they're pouring at soon.

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