LES CAILLOUX DU PARADIS, CLAUDE & ÉTIENNE COURTOIS, Soings – Biodynamic, Natural
Claude Courtois does not consider himself to be a biodynamic farmer yet has created a small farm that exemplifies what biodynamics is in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency. Courtois also grows organic wheat, which he then feeds to his cows who in turn provide manure to fertilise his fields. “Nothing comes into my vineyard” says Courtois, meaning no chemicals ever. He has created a well-balanced, biodiversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods & fields. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. The grapes – Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis and maybe up to a further forty varieties (!)—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism.The wines here aren’t submitted to a rigid temperature control and there are fluctuations along the seasons, which doesn’t seem to harm the wines, it could even make them more apt to stand their SO2-free life without accident.
Claude is growing older and has started to pass over the winemaking to his son, Etienne, who is showing great promise. Currently Claude looks after the Racines, and Etienne produces the rest. Etienne is another brilliant example of the younger generation taking over, bringing a new level of presicion to the winemaking. As Claude did before him, Etienne is continuing the tradition of very long elevage while also experimenting with shorter elevage for bright, fresh wines. Etienne works according to the precepts that his father taught him and without compromise, he works without chemistry in the vines, and without inputs for winemaking. The wines are distinguished and faithful to the trademark of the domaine.
Étourneaux comprises of hand-harvested, destemmed and gently pressed Gamay yielding 40hl/ha.Aged for 24 months in barrels and 12 months in bottle. Pure Gamay character with nice pepper notes, black confit fruits (cassis, cherry) and beautiful stony minerality with a lightly tannic structure on the finish. A fresh and balanced style of wine with great persistence and secondary aromas of smokiness.