Before the age of 30, Bertrand Sourdais had already made an impressive name for himself at Spain’s Dominio de Atauta. In the process of revealing a new terroir from Atauta’s ancient, ungrafted vines, 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 determined to return to France and take up the challenge of his beloved Cabernet Franc. His family estate, 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 40 years of age, Pallus held all the potential Bertrand could hope for. Beginning with the 2003 harvest, Bertrand began his quest to find the ultimate limit for Pallus. In 2010, Bertrand started converting the vineyards to biodynamic practices.
In the cellar, 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 elite Bordeaux estates. The wines are handled less, and bottled later, than almost any others in Chinon.