Chinon, France

Before the age of 30, Bertrand Sourdais had already made an impressive name for himself at Spain’s Dominio de Atauta (Ribera del Duero).

By 2003, Bertrand returned to France, more precisely in Cravant-les-Côteaux, a small village east of Chinon, and take up the challenge of vinifying his beloved Cabernet Franc in the family estate. His father’s property, Domaine de Pallus, is located in the heart of the appellation and is blessed with some of Chinon’s choicest vineyards. With vines averaging over 35 years old, Pallus held all the potential Bertrand could hope for. Beginning with the 2003 harvest, Bertrand has begun his quest to find the ultimate limit for Pallus. He also progressively switched most of the Domaine to Biodynamic culture.

Prior to rediscovering his home vineyards, Bertrand Sourdais, has taken part in the creation and making of many benchmark wines. In fact, he doubled as the technical director of Dominio de Atauta till 2010. Trained in the University of Bordeaux, he went on to secure top postings at Château Mouton Rothschild in 1996, and Château Leóville Las Cases in 1997. Recognising his talent, he was appointed enologist for Dominio Alvaro Palacios (Priorato) and subsequently Santa Rita in 1998. He then returned to Bordeaux as “maitre de culture” for Château Nenin, Pomerol in 1999.

From the start, he has worked in the vineyards to create harmony and balance. As at Atauta, he is working tirelessly to find the potential of each vine. And while biodynamic methods are an important tool for many Loire Valley growers, they are merely a starting point for Bertrand to set his vineyards on the right path. Of course, he has completely rethought the winemaking process. He is employing an extended maceration – up to an astonishing thirty days – to capture the “true” personality of Chinon. Elévage is similarly long and gentle – primarily in second passage barrels from Haut Brion & Domaine de la Romanee Conti.

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