The appellation of Malepère was officially sanctioned by the I.N.A.O in 2007 and, as the most westerly 'Cru' in the Languedoc, enjoys an Atlantic influence both in terms of climate and the grape varieties that are permitted to be grown. It currently has over 500 hectares under vine and is home to 14 independent wine makers and two Caves Co-opératives.
Philippe Girard of Domaine Girard in Alaigne, 20 kilometres south-west of Carcassonne, typifies a new generation of wine makers who are boldly going it alone and helping to put this underrated and exciting enclave of viticulture on the map. He has invested heavily in a smart new winery and shop overlooking the village and is clearly someone with courage in their convictions. His exemplary red Malepère is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc that has a wealth of ripe plum and blackcurrant scents and flavours supported by fine-grained tannins and offset by a fresh acidity. It drinks well on its youthful fruit and would make an ideal accompaniment to a traditional cassoulet or poule au pot.