Located on the Plonche plateau, north of the Vacqueyras appellation, Domaine Font Sarade owns 37 hectares at the foot of the jagged Dentelles (“teeth”) de Montmirail, a small mountain range of Provence’s highest peaks. The domaine’s story begins in 1936 when René Devine built the family home and historic underground cellar. He farmed his 10 hectares on horseback and sold barrels to visiting wine merchants. As the estate was handed down through the generations, the property expanded across several appellations including Vacqueyras, Côtes du Rhône, Ventoux and Vin de Pays.
In 2002, third generation winegrower Agnés Devine married Bernard Burle, also from a wine growing family: La Beaumette in Gigondas. They took the helm and began transitioning the domaine from bulk juice seller to estate bottler. As their production increased, Bernard renovated the old cellar with a new dock for receiving grapes, a pneumatic press, and a cooling system for the concrete vats. Eventually, he designed and constructed a more functional cellar in 2015, including the modernization of production tools. As a dedicated vigneron, Bernard understood that cellar improvements were necessary to highlight the tireless work being done in the vineyards. In his words, “the vine is my passion, wine is my reward.”
With their daughter Claire now at his side, Bernard has continued to strive to make every wine better. They recognize that their most important resource is the land, and they farm sustainably to ensure it endures for generations to come. Practices include planting grass between vine rows, adding organic amendments after the winter, crushing and burying pruned vine shoots to increase organic matter in the soils, and replanting old stumps with young plants to promote vitality in the vineyard. Additionally, with a valuable diversity of terroirs, the family carries out soil tests to determine which varieties are best suited to each area on the property. In 2021, Font Sarade earned their Haut Valeur Environnementale (HVE) certification, France's highest of three levels of environmental certification for farms. HVE places particular emphasis on biodiversity. By planting trees and encouraging increased vegetation, HVE certified winegrowers are maintaining biodiversity in a way that benefits the vines, animals, and the surrounding environment.
In the cellar, years of knowledge are combined with new innovations to achieve purity and reveal the subtle nuances of the individual terroirs. Wines are destemmed and fermented with indigenous yeast, and each parcel is vinfied separately in concrete or inox tank. Daily pump overs and some punch downs are done at low temps to gently extract color, flavor and tannin. Since 2016, the family have been using an air cane system, which allows pumping over without a pump. The process consists of blowing air with the help of a cane in order to bring up the juices contained at the bottom of the tank, while simultaneously oxygenating the musts. Cuvaison lasts 15 to 25 days.
In Provençal dialect, the name Font Sarade translates to “dry district” and helps us to understand the area’s reputation for producing rich and powerful wines. Fortunately, Font Sarade manages to balance these characteristics with an energy and freshness that are harder to come by as temperatures climb. We are delighted to add Font Sarade’s vibrant and supple Vacqueyras "Les Hauts de la Ponche" to our offering.