THE SKALLI FAMILY
The Skalli family originated in 1920’s Algeria. At the time, Robert-Elie Skalli selected the finest terrains and planted grape varieties from Southern France - Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Alicante - in its vineyards. With his son, Francis, they produced grapes and vinified full-bodied, generous wines thanks to very low yields. The family would always maintain a special fondness for wines from the South, the “hot” climates.
LES CHAIS DU SUD
Francis fell in love with a virgin terroir on the the east coast of Corsica - Terra Vecchia, one of the island’s most beautiful vineyards. Meanwhile, back in the Languedoc, he created the company, “Les Etablissements Skalli” that went on to become “Les Chais du Sud”, which, at the time, was exclusively devoted to receiving wines arriving from Algeria. The Terra Vecchia vineyard was then sold in 2011.
Robert, the son of Francis, pursued the family mission with his discovery of varietal wines from around the world. He imagined possible new markets and settled in Sète where he transformed “Les Chais du Sud” into ageing cellars for Languedoc wines. Over the years, he perfected his wine knowledge and expertise in the region’s wines, which he believed to have great potential for remarkable quality. Robert Skalli thereby became the ambassador for Languedoc wines.
Robert traversed the Languedoc region to convince the growers to aim for quality and dare to plant new grape varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon. The challenge was launched! To unveil the potential of the world’s largest winegrowing area and orient it towards elitist production, he bet everything on varietal wines, a new concept that upset French traditions which had always been based on the AOC system.
VIN DE PAYS D'OC
The vineyards of the Languedoc were undergoing profound change. On the initiative of a group of wine professionals led by Robert Skalli and Jacques Gravegeal, a decisive step was reached with the creation of the “Vin de Pays d’Oc” label. In that same year, the first French single varietal wines were released under the Fortant de France brand through a partnership with the Languedoc-Roussillon region’s winegrowers who represented a surface area of 1,500 hectares. Viticultural programs and good practice guides linked the winegrower and Skalli in this venture that was committed to excellence.
In 1990, the “Le Chai Collection” cellars in Sète, which were made of freestone in 1877, were completely renovated. They have a capacity of 2,700 French oak barrels intended for the ageing of wines.
F; DE SKALLI
Intimate knowledge of the terroirs allowed for the selection of the finest plots and to join forces with a dozen winegrowers to undergo a rigorous agronomic approach to vineyard management in the aim of producing top-quality grapes. 1996 was the first vintage of the “F. de Skalli” wines, in homage to Francis Skalli - three wines of exceptional quality crafted from Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon grapes
Two important wine families united their destinies - Boisset la Famille des Grands Vins in Burgundy joined with Skalli for a venture in the South. Long-time friends whose paths also crossed in California, they both share the same values, in particular their attachment to the terroir.
LE CHAI COLLECTION
Following an interlude during which it had been devoted to art (theatre and festivals) that had always been in the Skalli family genes, “Le Chai Collection” regained its original role – that of the ageing of the House of Fortant’s great wines from the South of France.
THE HOUSE OF FORTANT
Always a pioneer, Fortant proposes a new vision of the Languedoc with a topographical approach to take its wines to new heights. And so the Fortant viticultural regions were imagined: coasts, hills, and mountains, in which the landscape is evoked through the tasting of the wines.
LAUNCH OF THE AOC WINES
Armed with 30 years of expertise in Southern France’s vineyards and grape varieties, Fortant reached a new milestone in its perpetual quest for excellence in the expert blending of wines from a variety of terroirs.
For the first time, the House crafted exceptional Languedoc AOC wines. The Fortant “Grands Terroirs” range came into being with launch of 6 meticulously crafted wines that span the Languedoc’s remarkable terroirs: Picpoul de Pinet, Saint-Chinian, Minervois including the Pic Saint-Loup, Saint-Chinian Berlou and Minervois-la-Livinière crus.