David checking the grapes before the 2019 harvest
This jewel in Saint-Emilion’s crown, whose sales potential is only just beginning to emerge, hardly needs any introductions. Its consummate 2016 vintage is a definite must-try as it encapsulates all the hard work that has been put into awakening this vineyard site from its slumber.
Director and winemaker David Liorit welcomes us and waxes lyrical about the vintage: “2016 was remarkable both for quality and quantity in Bordeaux. It is a top vintage with a highly distinctive style!” What makes this all the more incredible is the very eventful growing season leading up to it, with a chaotic spring, very strong downy mildew pressure and even risks of rainfall during flowering! Certainly enough to cause some sleepless nights for a winegrower! Then came summer, which was dry, like the end of the season, which was outstanding and ultimately took the fruit to peak ripeness and produced stellar wines. David resumes his comments: “We made deep, very fruity and fresh wines. Our clay-limestone soils allow us to retain this freshness and regulate water supply. Limestone recovers excess water during rainy periods and restores it through capillarity during dry spells. Conversely - especially on our very permeable sandy plots - vineyard and soil management had to be adjusted by adding amendments to help the plant, adapting leaf area and leaf and cluster thinning. In the winery, we use cold pre-fermentation soaking at below 4 degrees for several days, which preserves the intrinsic characters of the wine and allows us to obtain colour, fruit and aromatic intensity. The winemaking process is subsequently carried out at low temperatures too, with extraction rates adapted to suit the different vineyard sites and vintages”.
David has a real love for his vineyards
A taste for challenge and originality
In 2016, the estate produced two red wines. The classic and already accessible Château Petit Val, and Muse du Val, made using denser, smoother and more complex barrel fermentation. Both wines are matured for a long period of time in oak barrels, and show significant potential. Current production has expanded to include Rose du Val, a distinctive, elegant rosé, and Margo, a single varietal Cabernet Franc fermented in amphora with no added sulphites. Next year sees the arrival of more offbeat Riesling and Malbec.
David concludes: “Jean-Louis and Olivia Alloin (Ed: the owners) and myself love tradition but we also have a thirst for challenge and originality! In fact, the entire team at the chateau has taken a liking to it!” And take our word for it, you can feel it in the wines!
By Sylvain Patard - Photographs: Sylvain Robin