Ribera del Duero
We first met Bertrand Sourdais when he was the winemaker for Dominio de Atauta, one of the finest wineries in Ribera del Duero. Whilst achieving a star reputation in Spain, Bertrand remained enthralled and ‘rooted’ to his native Chinon, especially for its emblematic grape variety, Cabernet Franc. It seemed inevitable, therefore, that he would someday devote his skills and sensitivities to developing the quality of his family’s 18ha estate, Domaine de Pallus, in Cravant-les-Côteaux, at the epicentre of the appellation.
In 2005, following his father’s retirement, Bertrand became the 5th generation of the family to hold the reins at Domaine de Pallus. His aim was, and is, to produce a wine of real acclaim at the estate, ultimately delivering the full potential of the Chinon soils, whilst also respecting its best ancient traditions. He has brought about significant improvements in vineyard management: lowering yields dramatically, introducing manual harvesting and converting to biodynamic principles (but choosing to remain uncertified), whilst also reviewing and enhancing all winemaking techniques in the cellar (extended maceration, longer and gentler élevage in 2nd fill Bordeaux and Burgundy barrels, less handling and manipulation, later bottling). His first vintages are already beginning to express the true potential of their vineyards: silky, deep and rich; Cabernet Franc without any of the green vegetal character, so often showing in the lesser wines from this region.