Château De La Gaude moves towards biodynamic while preserving the DNA of its oldest vines
The luxury estate on the heights of Aix en Provence has brought in a team of young winemakers to shake up their grapes
Pierre Decarme, the domain’s Chef de culture, has a big part to play in this, so we asked him to tell us more about the estate and what they are presenting at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris.
I arrived at Château De La Gaude a year ago, in November 2020 and have been working to restructure the entire vineyard. It is our first time at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris so we are presenting our entire wine range. We’re not very well known outside of the Bouches Du Rhône, so we are hoping to get more visibility. We present our full range, which includes two reds, two rosés and one white wine, in bottles and, in some cases, samples. It’s also an opportunity for us to showcase the domain and all the work we’re doing.
Tell us more about your wine making process?
All of the harvesting is done manually by hand. For our reds, we sort the grapes twice on a specially designed table with two belts. They are then placed in small vats which we carry to the cellar ourselves and are positioned above the tanks. This way, there is no mechanical intervention or pumps, it simply relies on gravity. We have also made some trials with horses in our plots, in order to see how we could push our production forward into a full respect of our soils and its terroir. We have a really interesting terroir here, because we have a natural spring running through the domain. It confers our vines a natural watering, hard to get in Provence, resulting in an atypical freshness in our wines. We also practice a delicate pruning approach, and only when the moon is descending, which improves the reserve.
Rumour has it, you have some seriously old vines here. Tell us more…
We have about 3 acres of really old grenache vines on the plateaux dating back to 1968, which had almost been abandoned. We’ve created our very own “pépinière” – a nursery, to preserve their genetic heritage. So we selected around 50 stems and buds which are then grafted and replanted to preserve the identity of our grenache. So that’s going to be really exciting when it’s ready.
What is the plan for 2022?
We are going to expand our range of whites because we have new vines coming into production, including viognier, marsanne and roussanne. We are also looking to complete the transition to becoming certified biodynamic. The domain has been bio – organic, for the past 20 years, so it was a logical step for us. We will also be planting another 4 acres of vines in 2022 but we’re not sure what grape variety yet. The domain is also developing its tourism offer, with major art works being exhibited through the grounds and a third restaurant opening. The idea is to create a real Chateau De La Gaude experience.
What are you looking forward to at Paris Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris?
Meeting people face to face and giving them an opportunity to try our wine.