Perfecting a unique terroir

Since the change of ownership in 2011, priority has been given by the team to doing everything necessary to glorify this unique viticultural heritage and to better understand the complexities of each parcel. Magnificent but demanding, the vineyard requires meticulous attention and a lot of patience.

The estate is managed by Frédéric Engerer, who is also in charge of the other Artémis Domaines estates: Château Latour in Pauillac, Château Siaurac in Lalande-de-Pomerol, Château Vray Croix de Gay in Pomerol, Château Le Prieuré in Saint-Emilion (Grand Cru Classé), Domaine d'Eugénie in Burgundy and Eisele Vineyard in the Napa Valley, USA. Day-to-day operations are overseen by winemaker Alessandro Noli, with the help of two skilful vineyard workers.

Understanding the complexity and diversity of all the different vineyard parcels is a fascinating task. Getting the best out of this veritable jewel of a vineyard requires humility, patience and also work, a lot of work. All the vineyard work is done manually, in the search of precision but also because some of the terraces are so narrow that only man can work them. Each year all the terraces need to be inspected carefully, to look after the stone walls which wear away over time.

In order to better respect the rise of the sap and to avoid disease, the vine training system has been changed from single Guyot to Guyot Poussard. The soils are cultivated by horse, using a winch, by motorised tiller, or using a pickaxe, according to the nature and accessibility of each terrace. The vines are trained on stakes, at least 1.5 metres high measured from ground level to the top of the stake. Since the acquisition of the domain in 2011, the team has started converting the entire vineyard to biodynamic agriculture. Using plant- and mineral-based products, and improving the biodiversity, this way of working aims to improve the balance between the soil, the plants and the environment, in the search of optimal expression of terroir in the wines.

During the harvest, the grapes are picked by a small but experienced team, trained in sorting, and then placed in small crates. The characteristics of each terrace and each macroclimate is carefully taken into account when selecting the grapes. Each lot is picked, pressed and vinified separately, so as to achieve optimum ripeness from each terroir and to preserve the style before final blending.

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