Before the age of 30, Bertrand Sourdais had already made an impressive name for himself at Spain’s Dominio de Atauta (Ribera del Duero). Bertrand had plenty to do when he joined Miguel Sanchez, the owner of Atauta, during the summer of 1999. His primary challenge was to rehabilitate the neglected vineyards—a project that continues today. He also helped design a gravity-fed winery and a program of biodynamic viticulture, allowing no chemicals or fertilizers to be used at Atauta. The rest is history and the resulting wines were immediately well acclaimed and received quite a few accolades from professionals and the press on both sides of the Atlantic ocean.
In the process of revealing a new Terroir from Atauta’s ancient, ungrafted vines of about 100 years old in average, Bertrand learned many invaluable lessons. The most important of these was the need to think critically about every single step in the viticulture and winery work. This process at Atauta also got Bertrand to start questioning the existing orthodoxies in his native Chinon.
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.
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.
"Les Pensées de Pallus" is Bertrand’s top cuvée. While making less expensive wines for the French market, he selects his oldest and best vines to produce "Les Pensées de Pallus" for the French but more especially the export market.
2007 Domaine de Pallus "Les Pensées de Pallus" Chinon Loire Valley France
Suggested retail price $19-$22
Imported / Distributed by Polaner in NYC
This Terroir oriented, unfiltered and unfined Chinon has a light, bright, ruby red color of medium intensity. The nose is clean, earthy with fresh raspberry and other red berry aromas and reveals classic Cabernet Franc tones with floral hints. The palate is quite juicy, elegant and, here again, reveals very bright, fresh red berries, complemented by peppery and slight tobacco leaf touches intermingled with slight, very integrated oaky notes. Overall lovely, balanced and juicy with a long earthy and lingering finish. Quite young and age worthy, the tannins will definitely bring structure to the fruit within the next few years to come and the acidity should this wine in line. Lovely.
Not as opulent as other Chinon reds that I've tasted lately but overall and in my opinion, a very well made, earthy Cabernet Franc wine to enjoy this Fall with a stew or a traditional Loire country dish like: "Filet de Sandre poêlé aux échalottes servi avec une sauce au vin de Chinon" (- Loire Zander with shallots and Chinon Wine sauce - go to the following website about French cooking: www.aftouch-cuisine.com , to find more info about this recipe and many more mouthwatering dishes to discover and prepare at home).
LeDom du Vin,
Info partly taken from the distributor website at www.polanerselections.com and from the importer website at www.rarewineco.com
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