Our Thoughts on Terroir
A respect for nature and environment

Accordingly, one of our must criteria in the choice of the plant health products are their innocuousness on auxiliary fauna, their accumulation in the ground and their spread by surface waters.
This protection of the ground and its biomass and its resulting health of the vineyard is indissociable with respect to the soil, and defines, among other things, the microflore and microfaune associated specifically with a given ground and terroir.
It is this ground which must nourish the plant. This mechanism is improved by working the ground, thus supporting the physical and biological systems necessary to this nutrition.
In the contrary case, where the ground is not worked, one is constrained to nourish the plant by use of artificial fertilizers, because the ground - packed and asphyxiated - cannot fulfill this function completely.
For these same reasons, it is obvious that an exogenic contribution to the vineyard soil or the modification of the natural composition of the ground goes against the true expression of the terroir.
In addition to the ground, the respect and maintenance of the plant constitute the next point of concern.

 

 

An ethic of production

The plant is primarily the result of the characteristics of the soil, the climate and the microclimate. The action of man on these factors can go in the direction of the plant, by supporting its blooming, its growth and its longevity or completely in its opposition, if interested only in its productivity.
This attention paid to the plant starts with the choice of variety of vine, of the clonal selection (within which the choice of the clones, in order to avoid a standardization of clonal choice which is essential) or visual selection of wild vineplants, and of course of the rootstock (which is in itself an inevitable distortion).
These choices make it possible to adapt the plant to its environment for a long time, but especially to adapt the production of the vine according to its situation, so that it does not suffer too greatly and become exhausted with an excessive production of grapes.
However, it is natural that the expression of the plant varies from one year to another. It is necessary to answer these fluctuations in an adapted way. Meticulous care - careful pruning, well reasoned diseases protection, such as for the choices of the plant health products, but also as for the interval between the treatments according to climatic conditions - contribute to obtaining healthy grapes, including precursors of flavors and other complex molecules, to which one can assign to the typicity of certain soils.
For that, it is necessary to leave to the plant the possibility of working out these molecules, for which photosynthesis is a paramount element.

 

 

An optimization of the plant with respect to its environment

When one talks about terroir, one thinks soil, but the soil is not only what is in the terroir. Admittedly the roots of the vine draw the necessary elements to the development of the plant, the soil has characteristics physical and chemical appreciably different, which makes it possible to identify them and to talk about " terroir ", but the environment and the energy which receives this soil are fundamental.
Lhe first thing which surprises the winemakers from areas other than Burgundy is the small size of the vines. At our Domaine, we have for several years taken to increasing the height of topping and trimming to 1.30-2.40 meters for the following reasons :

 

  • The more foliage there is, the more energy of the sun is collected by the plant. The increase in the sugar level in the grapes is the first objective.
  • Photosynthesis improves the color of the skin of the grape and, consequently, improves the color of the wine.
  • The wines produced from grapes resulting from vines having significant leaf areas are suppler due to a better maturation of the tanins.
  • The plant, having a greater metabolism, is generally healthier and thus more resistant to unfavorable climatic situations.

 

 

Under these conditions, maturity can easily be more than a week ahead of vines trained lower. This is an asset if the off-season is favorable but can be a disadvantage if the rains of September arrive a little too early.

 

 


A search for quality by constant questions.

The harvest must preserve, to the longest possible time, the integrity of the fruit in order to preserve its qualities.
In the same way, the extraction should not be pushed too much to respect the characteristics of the year, and to avoid a linearity of the wines, which runs completely opposite with the concept of terroir.
The Domaine maintains a traditional winemaking, while employing the means of controlling and of intervening on the factors which are likely to involve not desired deviations in the evolution of the wines (control of the temperatures of winemaking and rigorous hygiene).
Our progress of knowledge of the processes of fermentation makes it possible to use modern means placed at our disposal to create wines of quality, despite difficulties encountered in some years. The respect for tradition and grape, whose quality before any transformation is essential, makes it possible to obtain a typified wine, which reflects the characteristics of its terroir.

All of these factors must be present in the spirit of the vine grower during all the tasks which it will carry out throughout the life of the vine and winemaking which will result, if it is to express, through this wine, this concept of terroir which must be so cherished in Burgundy.