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Today was yet another happy day for the French as their fellow countryman Warren Barguil took stage 13, on a short but intense section of Le Tour de France in the Pyrenees, the most south western corner of France. Happy Bastille Day, indeed! Their route took them a mere hop and skip away from a historically famous wine producing region of France: Cabardes. The Cabardes AOC, classified since 1999, is an off the beaten path appellation north of Carcassonne. The best reds from this area achieve elegant fruit with a style reminiscent of Bordeaux, somewhat unusual for this southern region of France. The grape varietals most commonly found in the area are Cabs Franc and Sauvignon, Merlot, Cot, Fer Servadou and to a lesser extent, Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsaut. The soils vary in the region from wet, deep soils to hot, shallow soils. Like sections of the Rhone, the region has constant wind circulation, allowing farmers the luxury of avoiding the use of chemicals to control vineyard pests. Wine writer, Jancis Robinson, wrote of the region, “The small, pretty and distinctive wine region…Cabardès just north of Carcassonne.” The city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO world heritage site in the form of a walled medieval city. In 3500 BC, Neolithic settlements were in the Carcassonne region. In 6th century BC, the Celts settled the area, with ceramics and other objects found on site. 118 BC the Romans colonized the area and Carcassonne becomes the capital of “Colonia Julia Carcaso.” At the beginning of the 5th century, the Visigoths invade and capture the area, followed by the Saracens who settled briefly before King Pepin le Bref regained control. That’s a lot of history for such a little area! 

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