Savoir-Faire

Emblematic Saint-Emilion terroir

13% of vines
on sandy soils
 
70% clay-limestone
plateau
 
17% clay-rich
slopes
 

Château Soutard is privileged to have 30 hectares in a single plot in the heart of the limestone plateau, the sacred land of Saint-Emilion, with a soil depth of generally less than 30 centimetres. The majority of the vineyard benefits from clay-limestone outcrops. The classic formations we find are asteriated limestone, Castillon clay, calciferous molasse and recent colluvium.

This limestone dominance instils a veritable Saint-Emilion typicity in the wines: clean and precise, with great ageing potential.

The soil is worked as it was in the past, with the vines being earthed up and unearthed twice a year, essentially during the winter, as they were two centuries ago.

With the earthing up, the plough displaces the earth onto the vine stock, thus smothering the grass. Then comes the unearthing, the same operation in reverse, which allows the roots to be uncovered and the earth to be replaced in the centre of the rows.

 

 

 

On some parcels, we can also find micro-grooves in the limestone. This distinctive feature which dates from the days of Ausone when the Romans dug trenches in the limestone so that the vine slips in and occupies a minimum amount of earth. This ancestral practice came back into favour in the 18th century.

The plantings are dominated by Merlot, (63%), with some Cabernet Franc (28%), a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon (7%), and a dalliance of 2 to 3% of Malbec.

Average planting density is 6,500 vines per hectare. Since 2008, all plantings have 8,000 vines per hectare.

« The man who talks to plants... »

 

Olivier Brunel, vineyard manager, nicknamed “the man who talks to plants”, is not a fan of green harvests which put additional stress on the vine and prefers to pre-empt the pruning so that green harvests are reduced to simple adjustments.

 

The goal of Chateau Soutard is to treat as infrequently as possible to stay as natural as possible, without any fundamentalism. So, it is here on the plateau of Saint- Emilion that the team work with a respectful approach.

 

Harvests are naturally done by hand, carried out by a loyal harvesting team. The 10 kilo crates are kept in a cold room overnight before being taken to a vibrating sorting table; the grapes are then sorted and de-stemmed.

 

Respectful vinification

As soon as they arrive in the cellars, the grapes are sorted by density using the Tribaie, a brand-new machine which separates the best perfectly ripe berries and eliminates rejects from the start. 

The grapes are then placed in small tanks, lifted by a hoist then moved to the stainless steel and wood fermentation tanks via a ceiling-mounted monorail.

Pre-fermentation maceration lasts for approximately 5 days, then after raising the temperature the alcoholic fermentation begins. 

The vat room is built around conical 60 hectolitre stainless steel and wood tanks, which affords Véronique Corporandy, cellar master, complete freedom of technical decision-making during vinification and maturation.

Alcoholic fermentation lasts for around ten days, during which time the frequency and intensity of the pumping over will progressively decrease.

Malolactic fermentation is half carried out in vats and half in barrel.

The wine is matured for eighteen months in French oak barrels from eight different cooperages, with 60% of new barrels each year.

At the end of the ageing process, the blending process is completed in the presence of our consulting oenologist. On average, 70% is Chateau Soutard and the rest is Jardins de Soutard.

The wine is matured
for eighteen months
in oak barrels.
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