Our Producers

Founded in 1990 by Jean-François and Cathy Izarn, Borie la Vitarele is 18 hectares of vineyards in the AOC Saint-Chinian, conducted in organic and biodynamic since 1998. Day after day, they protect the biodiversity of the field in an approach of global living. The soils are alive, the vines in harmony with the earth, the wines nourished by these beautiful soils. Vines under influences that give these unique wines reflections of the many facets of nature.

It is then in the cool cellar that the alchemy of fermentation occurs … The elegance and finesse of the wines are built through sweet, minimalist vinifications, considered as slow infusions. A respectful breeding puts a high point at the birth of the cuvées

The couple has made Borie la Vitarele a real place of creation, free of superfluity and frills, whose wines are the perfect reflection. Since the sudden taking of Jean François Izarn in April 2014, Cathy continues the adventure alone of Borie la Vitarèle.

 

 

In 1906, Samuel Geoffrion, the great-grandfather of the present owner-managers, acquired Château Croque- Michotte within the commune of Saint-Emilion. The family – Geoffrion-Carle-Laval-Rigal – is responsible for the cultivation of the vines, the production of the wines, and the marketing and management of Château Croque-Michotte.

Situated a few dozen and a few hundred metres from some of the most famous vineyards of Saint-Emilion (Cheval blanc, Petrus and Pomerol), Château Croque-Michotte comprises of nearly 14 hectares of vines (74% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon) that sit on ancient sandy limestone over a clayey soil. The vines are on average 51 years old.

The vines are cultivated in a traditional style, respecting the regulations of Biological Agriculture – Certification Ecocert FR BIO 01. There is thus respect for the agricultural workers’ health, for the consumers’ health, for the richness of the environment (birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, mites, bacteria, worms, etc.) and, of course, for the vines’ growth.

The practice of a small yield and the very rare use of fertiliser enable the production of wines that are in keeping with their soil, and  benefit  from  an indispensable natural acidity for long-lasting wines. The ageing of the wines, over about twenty months, is slow; following the rhythms of the seasons and including a year in French fine-grained oak barrels mainly new.  They are not filtered and are hardly ever “collé”.

This good practice has been rewarded by twentyfour medals over fourteen years at important official French competitions, and selections in the best wine guides such as The Hachette Guide to Wine, Parker’s Guide, Bordeaux- Aujourd’hui, etc.

Chateau Des Tourtes was founded in 1967 by Philippe and Lise Raguenot, and has expanded considerably over the years. In 1997 their two daughters, Emmanuelle and Marie-Pierre, took over the property, and, with the help of their respective husbands Daren and Eric, have continued the family tradition of wine making.
From its humble beginnings of 3 hectares, Philippe and Lise grew the property to more than 40 hectares of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Sauvignon blanc vines. Emmanuelle and Marie-Pierre have continued the expansion of the property to more than 60 hectares today, with the additon of Malbec and Petit Verdot varieties.
The family owns 2 estates, Chateau Des Tourtes and Chateau Haut Beyzac in the Haut Medoc.

The climate is very similar on both sides of the river, what differs mainly is the soils. Merlot is planted in the cooler clay soils and Cabernet Sauvignon on lighter gravel soils. Haut-Medoc is actually limestone and clay whereas Blaye is sand and clay, hence the lighter, softer wines in the latter. They avoid fertile and deep soils for the best wines, in fact they encourage roots to grow deep and will always do careful soil evaluation before planting a new vineyard. They use machines a lot and believe sincerely that there is not quality loss with machine harvested grapes, in fact they say it offers much more flexibility being able to harvest at night or on a moments notice before a storm, which for regions like this is important. It’s important to cull out unripe, diseased and damaged fruit before the harvester gets into the vineyard. The new machines pick fast and clean. They have an older Gregoire over-the-row that is used only for harvesting. The only grapes that are hand harvested are used for Cremant.
They are strict believers in regulating vine yields and the relationship between yield and wine quality.
They have earned more than 100 medals over the past 25 years, as well as numerous press articles that honour, every year, their commitment to making wine.

The vineyard of Château Grand Renard took shape in the 1970s where Roland, father of Francis Joubert, had some vines on land locally.  On the same land, « Le Renard Pendu » congregated over the last century, with vineyards, pine and acacia trees, making it a paradise for fox dens.

 Later, Francis and his wife Bernie widened the field and built the chateau, naming it ‘Grand Renard’.

In 1987, they were both chosen to grow and make wine according to the methods of organic farming. Today, the Joubert family continues this wonderful adventure, as the eldest sone Sylvain took over in 2002.

In the vineyard, the soil is worked on over the year, with no use of herbicides. The treatments are limited to the use of copper, and sulfur in limited quantities. The nutrients provided in the vineyard are only natural (organic compost obtained from the property, planting green manure). Each year the certification AB label is issued by ECOCERT.

When producing the wines, there’s a minimum of oenological inputs in compliance with European specifications, and limitation of sulphite doses for the development and preservation of wine.

Chateau Haut Canteloup is a family run operation, going back 4 generations. Starting in the 1970’s, when the grandparents of Vincent and Alexander (2 brothers who currently run the business), were in charge of sales, whilst their parents devoted all their energy to the development and restructuring of the property, which now has 48 hectares.
Located in the heart of Blaye, Cote de Bordeaux, they produce red, rosé, white and sparkling, which all incorporate a richness and refinement. Their passion for viticulture pushes them to combine tradition and modernity in a permanent concern for quality and respect for the environment.

The area of 48 hectares is spread over two plots, both with different soils. In the town of Fours, they have 30 hectares of red wine. Implanted on clay-limestone plateau, they get excellent results in terms of richness and maturity. The wines are fruity, concentrated and elegant. The vines are the noblest of Bordeaux varieties, with 85% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec (or Cot). A second block of 18 hectares is located to the north of the department, in the municipality of Saint Palais de Blaye on the slopes exposed mostly in the South, the white varieties found here have a special affinity with the local sand and gravel. 80 % Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Gris, 5% Muscadelle, 5% Semillon.
Their wine making is regularly awarded as you will see from each listing, and their Prestige Red won a Coup de Coeur in the Hachette Guide 2013 – the ‘Bible’ of French wine – with the Prestige White gaining a star.
Rae discovered this chateau whilst out for lunch in Blaye with a friend who will only touch Provence rosé, and pretty much turns her nose up at anything but. The owner of the restaurant kindly recommended the Chateau Haut Canteloup, and it was an immediate hit, even with our rosé snob friend. Chateau details in hand, she sent me straight down there, where I met Vincent, and spent the next 4 hours completely won over by his passion for winemaking, and of course, the wines. It is rare you fall upon a chateau where you love every wine they produce, but Chateau Haut Canteloup really know how to make great wine.

 

Chateau La Croix-Davids presents an excellent graphical position, as its vineyards are set on one of the highest plateaux of the appellation, in a clay and limestone soil. The vines are well exposed and enjoy exceptional sunshine. The average age of the vineyard is fifty years.

In the 18th century, the estate was a major stopping place on the route to Santiago de Compostela. After the French revolution, it was confiscated and sold to the present proprietors. Annie Birot-Meneuvrier belongs to a long lineage of winemakers who handed down an ancient savoir-faire from generation to generation. Today, her son Louis Meneuvrier carries on the tradition of the family.

Louis has selected well exposed plots of vineyards, producing beautiful healthy and low yield vines which are rich in flavour and aromas. He is very passionate about his wine making, and draws you in with his enthusiasm and creativity. The result is show in his end product. For the 2012 vintage only 10,000 bottles were made, each number marked on the label. It is small attention to detail that makes him stand out.

Didier Desvignes is a winemaker to the hilt. He is continuing the work started out over a century ago by his family. His passion started to show when he was only eleven when he was caught pruning the vines. This was also when he started trying to find aromas in the wines at family tastings.
Then, one day, his father challenged him by allowing him to vinify the latest vintage in the cellar. This first experience was a revelation to him and something of a success…
At that time he already wanted to cultivate his own vines… So, in 1981, he bought his first land in Morgon called Le Domaine du Calvaire De Roche Grès. This interesting name comes from the presence of 13 monumental standing stone Stations of the Cross dating from the beginning of 20 thcentury that are set in the vines.
From then on his attachment to and respect for the vines, his passion and rigour grew and have contributed to developing very high quality.
Didier Desvignes sees vinification as the means to express the best of his terroirs. This is why he vinifies each plot separately, revealing each one’s individual finesse and personality.

Reliable, refined wines

Vinification is used to bring out the most elegant expression of the terroirs, finding the best balance between alcohol, acidity and mellowness. For Morgon vinification gives aromatic intensity and the tannins that make them excellent wines to lay down while for Chiroubles and Fleurie it gives wines with powerful, rounded bodies and great aromas.

The purity of the aromas

Every year Didier Desvignes asserts his preference for clearcut fruit aromas that are delicately extracted using heat assisted maceration. To meet this requirement for aromatic purity the wines are often aerated in the cellar that is kept perfectly clean.

The subtle harmony between wood and wine

The wines meet with oak barrels during malo-lactic fermentation. Didier Desvignes is convinced that time in the barrel gives additional and new aromatic complexity. He nevertheless looks for a harmonious blend between the aromas of the wood and the wine.

The Chauveau family have been making wine for several generations, and Benoit Chauveau gradually took over the vineyards of his grandparents and parents in the mid 1990s.

Today, their property comprises about fifteen hectares (37.5 acres) of Pouilly Fumé, Pouilly sur Loire and Coteaux du Giennois on various types of soil (kimmeridgian marl, siliceous-clay and Villiers limestone).

Their approach is to continually strive to improve the quality of their wines through the development of sustainable methods, using a strict minimum of products to treat the vines against the disease.

From December to March they prune the vines by hand using the “Guyot simple »

domaine chauveau | the french wine projectpruning method.
Between April and June, they then perform de-budding to remove any unwanted growth that might produce an excess of grapes.
The month of June is spent lifting up the growth on each side of the row and attaching it on metal wires.

The grapes are usually gathered at the end of September with the help of a harvesting machine. Besides the manual labor during the growth cycle, various tasks are carried out mechanically: plowing, topping and trimming, and phytosanitary protection against disease.

Immediately after harvesting, the grapes are pressed using a pneumatic press to obtain the highest quality juice. The juice then settles for 48 hours, then they rack it off to obtain a clarified must.

domaine chauveau | the french wine project After this procedure, alcoholic fermentation begins, lasting from 10 days to 3 weeks at a controlled temperature of 18-19°C in   the thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks. This low temperature fermentation helps conserve the aromas in the wine.

 Three months after the end of fermentation, they rack off to separate the clear wine from the lees. Then the wines are blended   according to their characteristics to produce the various finished wines on offer. The first bottling is generally carried out in   February.

Contact

+44 (0) 7584 418 606
enquiries@thefrenchwineproject.com