Château Mon­trose .........................8

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As part of its global ap­proach to re­duc­ing its car­bon foot­print, the fa­mous Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Estèphe is con­vert­ing to or­ganic farm­ing. Its ob­jec­tive is to be a model vine­yard in terms of eco re­spon­si­bil­ity in 10 years. This eco­log­i­cal aware­ness is also ac­com­pa­nied by other projects such as mass se­lec­tion, 100% elec­tric trac­tors and the use of drones!

VertdeVin: Or­ganic farm­ing at Château Mon­trose, a great am­bi­tion for the fu­ture…

Château Mon­trose has re­cently in­ten­si­fied its en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proach to ac­com­pany the field to­wards the to­tal con­trol of its eco­log­i­cal foot­print.We want, within five years, to con­vert the vine­yard to or­ganic farm­ing or bio­dy­nam­ics.At present we are run­ning par­al­lel to these two mod­els. This is an ap­proach that is not with­out risk, but we are com­mit­ted to it by con­vic­tion.

We de­cided to in­clude these tri­als in a global ap­proach be­cause the vine is not the only thing with which to be con­cerned.We have de­vel­oped a green en­ergy site (geo­ther­mal and pho­to­voltaic) that al­lows us to cover most of our

needs. For ex­am­ple, geo­ther­mal en­ergy al­lows us to cover the elec­tric­ity needs of air con­di­tion­ing in all build­ings as well as the ther­moreg­u­la­tion of tanks.

The es­tate of Mon­trose is not only planted in vines.We also have forested / veg­e­ta­tion ar­eas, streams, forests ... all of which con­trib­ute to pre­serv­ing our ecosys­tem.

Bio is a prac­tice, a tech­nique, but also a phi­los­o­phy to which we do not ad­here by fash­ion, but by real con­vic­tion, with the will to work closer to na­ture. Be­fore we em­barked on this process, we had al­ways been very at­ten­tive to our vine­yard and its ecosys­tem. We are in­ten­si­fy­ing this lis­ten­ing by us­ing or­ganic agri­cul­ture - mainly based on the preven­tive ap­proach - and bio­dy­nam­ics, whereby we will con­cen­trate on the un­der­ground, the soil and the root.The ob­jec­tive is, within 5 years, to con­vert the whole vine­yard.

V.d.V.: Would you like AB cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or bio­dy­nam­ics? Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is not the only goal, but I think that, in the end, it will be in­dis­pens­able. Given the con­text, the only thing that mat­ters for now is to af­firm our real and sin­cere com­mit­ment to this ap­proach.

V.d.V.: Did the or­ganic ap­proach change any­thing in the wine? We started this year to vinify the dif­fer­ent test plots sep­a­rately in or­der to be able to com­pare. The first tast­ings (blind) are rather en­cour­ag­ing. Now we have to wait and see how this evolves.We will draw con­clu­sions af­ter breed­ing vines!

V.d.V.: Soon 100% elec­tric trac­tors in the vine­yards of Mon­trose

To ex­tend this ap­proach we are in­vest­ing in 100% elec­tric trac­tors. They have less im­pact on our en­vi­ron­ment but they are also per­fectly adapted to the work of the vine­yard. They are 40% lighter than nor­mal trac­tors. This re­duc­tion al­lows us to limit the com­paction of the soil.We are work­ing on this project in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a young com­pany es­tab­lished un­til now only in Cham­pagne. Our ob­jec­tive is to con­vert the whole of our fleet into an elec­tric fleet within 5 to 10 years. From my point of view, this re­sponse to the en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems cor­re­sponds more to the re­quire­ments of the 21st cen­tury than the rein­ser­tion of the horse in the vines.

For the past two years we have also been work­ing with drones that al­low us to bet­ter un­der­stand the be­hav­ior of the vine and the vigor of the plant on the plot. This tool helps us to have a 3D view of our vine­yard. V.d.V.: Let’s talk about the Château Mon­trose wine: What makes it pos­si­ble to rec­og­nize the wines of the es­tate in blind tast­ing?

Blind tast­ing is al­ways very com­pli­cated. What char­ac­ter­izes Mon­trose is con­trolled power, as a kind of wise lion. Ev­ery­thing is pre­cise, in­clud­ing a pow­er­ful, el­e­gant and fine tan­nic ex­pres­sion. An­other «indi­ca­tor» ap­pears on our wines af­ter a few years: a slight salin­ity.We do not know pre­cisely what it is due to ...per­haps on the ground, be­cause the sit­u­a­tion of the vine­yard is not too high com­pared to the Garonne which is close to the sea, or the winds of the North West bring­ing the fresh­ness of the Ocean? In the end, even if we do not know the ori­gin of this salin­ity, we must note that it par­tic­i­pates in the gourmet side of the wines of Mon­trose.

On the nose, the wine has a very small iodized side, very char­ac­ter­is­tic. Many wine es­tates are close to the wa­ter, but Mon­trose is re­ally at the edge of the es­tu­ary and very north of the Mé­doc.We ben­e­fit from this in­flu­ence of the ocean. The com­plex­ity of the ag­ing bou­quet is quite ex­tra­or­di­nary: the more aged the wine, the more its aro­matic pal­ette ex­presses the iden­tity and the rich­ness of the Mon­trose ter­roir.

Here is a lit­tle anec­dote to il­lus­trate what I’m say­ing: we par­tic­i­pated with the ISVV (Sci­en­tific In­sti­tute of Vine and Wine) to do a study on the com­po­si­tion of the wine ag­ing bou­quet.This study on 10 vin­tages (1995 to 2005) re­vealed that our wines had a real typ­ic­ity, char­ac­ter­is­tic of the great­est Bordeaux wines.

“our ap­proach to the land of mon­trose is to pro­tect, to un­der­stand and to re­veal on a daily ba­sis the im­men­sity of its po­ten­tial”

V.d.V.: To fin­ish do you have any anec­dotes to tell us about the prop­erty?

My fa­vorite con­cerns the nick­name «La­tour de Saint-Estèphe» of­ten given to Mon­trose in the world of wine… prob­a­bly due to the rather sim­i­lar po­si­tion­ing of the vine­yards in re­la­tion to the Garonne and the na­ture of the soil.There are also sim­i­lar­i­ties in the char­ac­ters of wines, such as tan­nic power and tim­ber fram­ing.

Thanks to Hervé Ber­land, Hélène Bro­chet and Vin­cent Du­cup for their warm wel­come.

J.C.C.

Mass se­lec­tion : a study whose ob­jec­tive is to demon­strate that Mon­trose can only be

pro­duced at Mon­trose

“In Mon­trose, we have the ad­van­tage of hav­ing a his­toric vine­yard. We were able to iden­tify a whole se­ries of healthy root­stock with in­ter­est­ing strains (DNA) with high po­ten­tial and very rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the prop­erty. Our goal is to be able to se­lect and mul­ti­ply them. As part of a 15-year project, we wish to con­tinue to de­velop this mass se­lec­tion and stud­ies so that we can then re­plant. This will also en­able us to prove that there is in­deed a ge­netic her­itage pe­cu­liar to Mon­trose that con­sti­tutes its iden­tity, the sin­gu­lar­ity of its wines and thus demon­strate that Mon­trose can only be pro­duced at Mon­trose. So we are plan­ning to cre­ate a ‘nurs­ery’ in the near fu­ture .... A real rar­ity, be­cause there are very few vine­yards that have em­barked on mass se­lec­tion. This re­quires meet­ing cer­tain cri­te­ria, the main one be­ing to own an old vine­yard.

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