TERROIR & EXPERTISE
The vineyard is divided into parcels with terraces facing due South, surrounded by dry stone walls, in a natural and isolated environment. We practise short pruning (“gobelet” or “Cordon de Royat”) but also a pruning which enables us to obtain lyre shape vines (on a double trellis system).
We maintain the soil with harnessed tools: plough frames with or without a flexible-toothed mouldboard-plough cultivator (“Spiroculteur”) equipped with points or skimmers.
Depending on the rainfall, 3 to 6 tillings on average are sufficient to keep the soil clear.
No manure is applied : to produce moderate yields (30-45hl/ha), a rustic plant like the vie has no need, barring mishaps, for annual fertilisation, called upkeep fertilisation. Some vegetable compost can be added to the vine plants.
The phyto-sanitary protection is largely facilitated by a range of prophylactic measures which significantly reduce the pressure of diseases ; early de-suckering of trunks and branches, meticulous trellising of the vegetation, and manual and bilateral foliage (80- 00 hours of manual work per hectare).
Due to this, we have never used any specific anti-botrytis fungicide in our vineyard.
Our approach to viticulture with the techniques described here is similar to the agriculture known as integrated or sustainable, but without belonging to any official grouping.
All our cuvées have their own personality and wish to find a spontaneous and unembellished expression of the sole reality that seems to us to be important in viticulture ; that of the grape on its terroir.
HARVESTS AND VINIFICATION
Our sole preoccupations are the following :
1- harvesting the grapes when they are as ripe “rôtis” as possible
2- transporting them without crushing them
3- achieving complete de-stemming
4- maintaining the technique of the “trapping” of the marc cap in small-capacity containers made of Hungary oak
5- carrying out vatting over a very long period, from 3 to 8 weeks depending on the grape varieties and the desired objectives.
As these vinifications are based on a harmonious conjunction of varieties/terroirs and appropriate technology, we are enabled to obtain wines that can be kept for 10 years or more, with exceptional results for some vintages.
There is a single exception to that general rule : our old Carignans, which are picked only in little crates, are vinified in “real” carbonic maceration, that is to say, without sulphur treatment or yeasting but, on the other hand, accompanied by continuous bleeding of the free-run juice. Unlike cuvées made through destemming-crushing, the vatting time here is very short (about 1 week to 10 days) in order to give fruit and some fine tannin.