Noilly Prat

 © Noilly Prat 

13 September 2021  |  Drinks, Made in France, Tourism, Pure France

Visit Noilly Prat in Marseillan

Joseph Noilly started making France's first vermouth in 1813. It had long been known that leaving wine in a barrel alters its characteristics. Wine that was transported long distances in barrels and exposed to the weather became darker in colour and fuller-flavoured. In 1855, his son Louis Noilly and son-in-law Claudius Prat set up the company that became Noilly Prat, moving the business to Marseillan where it remains to this day.

Noilly Prat

 © Noilly Prat 

The process used today is virtually unchanged since the 1850s. Noilly Prat is made exclusively from white grape varieties grown in the Marseillan area, principally Picpoul de Pinetand Clairette. These produce light, fruity wines which are matured in massive Canadian oak casks inside the original storerooms. The wine stays in these casks for 8 months, maturing and absorbing the flavour of the wood, before being transferred to smaller oak barrels which are taken outside and left for a year. Here they are exposed to the sun, wind, and low winter temperatures, while the wine is slowly changing. The result is a wine that is dry, full-bodied and amber coloured, similar to Madeira or Sherry.

Brought back inside and left to rest for a few months, the wines are then blended together into oak casks. A small quantity of Mistelle (grape juice and alcohol) is added to the wines in order to soften them, along with a dash of fruit essence to accentuate their flavour.

In the oak casks, a process of maceration, supposedly unique to Noilly Prat, takes place over a period of three weeks. A blend of some twenty herbs and spices is added by hand every day. The exact mix of herbs and spices that goes into Noilly Prat is a closely guarded secret, but includes camomile, bitter orangepeel, nutmeg centaury (yellow gentian),coriander and cloves. After a further six weeks, the finished product is ready for bottling.

Four original products are available; Original Dry, Extra Dry, Ambré and Rouge.

Noilly Prat

 © Noilly Prat  

Take a guided tour or just browse the large Noilly Prat shop in the pretty port at Marseillan.

Noilly Prat

 © Noilly Prat 

Noilly Prat

 © Noilly Prat 

La Maison Noilly Prat 1 Rue Noilly 34340 Marseillan GPS 43.353260°,3.531880°

Opening times

From May 19 to June 29

10.30am – noon & 2.30pm – 7pm

From June 30

10am – noon & 2.30pm – 10pm

Noilly Prat

 © Noilly Prat 

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Author

Hugh Atkins

Co-founder of Pure France. 20 years of visiting and photographing fabulous properties, meeting fascinating people and driving every main and back road in France.

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