After the phylloxera outbreak, the wines from the northern Rhône valley did not recover before the second half of the 20th century. It was easier and more profitable to grow fruit than terraced vines between Condrieu and Tain l'Hermitage. Crozes-Hermitage is the biggest AOC in the northern Rhône valley and its original terroirs date back to the Quaternary. The narrow gorge is cut in the Hermitage granite and when it ends, the landscape of orchards and Crozes-Hermitage vineyard starts. A major part of our 26 hectares of vines is located on the stony terrace that is usually called “Les Chassis”. It accounts for 80% of the Crozes. The rest of our vines is planted on the clay and limestone hillside located just after the hill of l'Hermitage, which is a great terroir for white grape-varieties.
We have progressively changed our growing methods over the last years to be granted the AB label (organic) since 2011.
The soils of our vineyard are worked and we use methods that come from biodynamics so as to preserve microbial life and reduce wood diseases. A vine expert advises us on what organic treatments to apply on our vines. Although the authorized yield is 45 hl/ ha, our aim is to get 40 hl / ha. So we let 6 to 8 bunches per stock and our planting density is 6,000 stocks per hectare. In 2007, the average yield on the estate was 35 hl/ha.
Our grapes are picked by hand and we select the grapes in the rows if necessary. Our four hectares of Marsanne, Roussane are picked first. Then they are pressed, settled and fermented both in barrels (one third) and in vats but without yeasting (two thirds). Bottling is achieved by the end of July for the “domaine” quality whereas our plot selection “les Pends” is available in the following autumn, if its quality suits us.
Our Syrah is picked around 13% and we separate our red cuvées according to the vine's age and the geographical origin. If necessary, we lower the musts' temperature at 15/17°C to have steady fermentations that progressively end up at 30°C. Vatting time varies between 8 days for young vines to3 weeks for older ones. Our sulfur adding is adapted to bottling so that we reach 10 to 15 mg/l of free SO2 for a total of 25 to 30. These weak quantities of sulfur are only possible because our wines are “clean”.