DOMAINE DE PALLUS, Cravant les Côteaux
Bertrand Sourdais is a young winemaker born and raised in the Loire Valley, where his family have been making wine at Domaine de Pallus, in Chinon for five generations. He studied eonology in Bordeaux, at the renowned Blanquefort school, where he met Ricardo Perez Palacios, nephew to Alvaro Palacios. Their meeting and friendship lead Bertrand to Dominio de Atauta in 1999 (see our Spanish selection). His resume includes training in Bordeaux (at Mouton Rothschild and Leoville Las Cases) and Chile (Santa Rita), amongst others.
While achieving stardom in Spain, Bertrand remained passionate for his native Chinon, and for its variety, Cabernet Franc. And so it was inevitable that he would someday apply his gifts at his family’s estate, Domaine de Pallus in the appellation’s heart in Cravant-les-Côteaux and chart a new course – to honour Chinon’s soil and its ancient traditions.
Of course, he has completely rethought the winemaking process; he applied biodynamic farming to
his vineyards, employed an extended maceration up to thirty days and avoided the mistakes typically made by modernists. The results of his efforts have been a string of utterly profound and critically acclaimed wines.
Pensées de Pallus is made from very low-yielding Cabernet Franc vines (28 hl/ha) averaging 35 years of age. The soils consists of sand and pebbles resting over a calcareous rock formation. Red berries, raspberry, plum and subtly smoky toasted nuts in the nose lead to an elegant, refined, caressingly silken-textured palate displaying sorbet of red raspberry, roasted red pepper, nut oils and a deep, marrowy sweetness. Elegant and low key, with clear, juicy finishing fruit and subtle smoky, spicy, nutty finishing nuances.
“Pensées de Pallus is very much cut from the same stylistic cloth as the great Saumur-Champigny bottlings from Clos Rougeard. There is a fair bit of new oak here, but done in a very graceful and unobtrusive style that really brings out the best in this wine on both the nose and palate. The deep and beautifully balanced bouquet offers up a quite red fruity interpretation of this vintage, delivering notes of red and black cherries, lovely soil tones, coffee, fresh herbs, a nice touch of spicy oak and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure on the attack, with fine, nascent complexity, lovely mid-palate depth and excellent length and grip on the focused and moderately tannic finish. This is a very high class bottle of Chinon. 2012-2030. 93+” John Gilman, View from the Cellar