Home > Good > It Only Lasted Two Nights: 2010 Domaine Canet-Valette, Une et Mille Nuits

It Only Lasted Two Nights: 2010 Domaine Canet-Valette, Une et Mille Nuits

Sulphuring the Vines. Image from Le Vignoble de L’Herault.

According to Rosemary George, Saint-Chinian has a long history of viticulture because little else except the vine will grow on the rugged hills of the Cevennes.  The soils range from schist to a mixture of clay and limestone.  In describing Marc Valette of Domaine Canet-Valette she writes “He is an opinionated, intense man” who built a state of the art wine cellar.  It contains stainless steel vats for fermentation which feed by gravity to cement vats below which also feed by gravity to an underground barrel cellar.  His 18 hectare vineyard in Cessenon is drought-prone and produces very ripe grapes.  As a result he employs a variety of used wooden vessels of different sizes and shapes.

Wine Production of L’Herault (1850-1899). Image from Le Vignoble de L’Herault.

Early British guidebooks were indifferent to Saint-Chinian itself.  John Murray, in 1856, described it as a “wretched place, streets scare wide enough for a carriage to pass.”[1]  However the “mountains are literally covered with wild lavender of exquisite fragrance.  Every patch in the valley is cultivated; grapes, figs…”  After a decade passed, the 2,690 inhabitants of the city became known for the manufacture of cloth, brandy, and leather goods.[2]   After the mid 1880s, the ravages of Phylloxera had passed and the production of wine increased.  John Murray changed his opinion by 1892, describing the “busy town in a pleasant situation” as having a population of 3600. [3] In the book Le Vignoble de L’Herault published in 1900, the wines of Saint-Chinian were considered amongst the best of the region.[4]  Whereas most of the wines of L’Herault were current consumption the red wines of Saint-Chinian were ” très recommandables” and “les vins de Saint Chinian couramment classés au premier rang des vins de l Hérault au Concours général”.

A Modern Cellar from L’Herault in 1899. Image from Le Vignoble de L’Herault.

I liked this wine.  From the first sniff and taste I was attracted to the earthy, minerally, black fruit.  I always wonder how this profile come about then I take another taste and forget about it.  I maintained a nagging feeling that a little something was missing and I believe it is another six months in the bottle. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Domaine Canet-Valette, Une et Mille Nuits, Saint-Chinian – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault sourced from vines on clay and limestone soils.  The fruit was hand-harvested, destemmed, fermented 70-90 days, then aged for 24 months in foudres and demi-muids.  Alcohol 14%.  There were earthy flavors of minerally black fruit which became ethereal as they expanded in the mouth, lasting through the earthy finish.  The black fruit mixed with acidity as the wine became drier with a moderate structure  coming out.  The wine is not heavy, it had a medium body that became lighter in the mouth, which surprised me, I expected more weight.  There was a nice flavor profile, good finish, and an inky hint.  *** 2014-2018.


[1] Murray, J. Hand-book For Travelers in France. 1856. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=6AIIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q&f=false
[2] Knight, Charles.  The English Cyclopaedia: Geography. 1867. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=igVCAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q&f=false
[3] Murray, J. Hand-book For Travelers in France, Part II. 1892. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=eFk7AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false
[4] Le Vignoble de L’Herault. 1900. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=4iw7AQAAMAAJ&pg=PR9#v=onepage&q&f=false

  1. philip bernot
    October 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Hi Aaron:

    I have always loved Canet Vallete, especially this particular bottle. I was extremely disappointed to see that Peter Weygandt now imports the wine as I will not support him. I used to buy the wine through The Country Vintner and wondered what had happened to it.

    A really wonderful wine, but WAY too much bad karma to buy from Weygandt. I will give it a year and CV will be with a different importer.


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