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At Chateau Croix de Labrie, they bring life back to the soil

Wine tour SALVATORE CASTANO / Libournais

Devant le château, Salvatore Castano et Pierre Courdurier.


"I'm impressed by the work you have done in the vineyard,"
says Salvatore. And so it should be! ​

Since 2013, Axelle and Pierre Courdurié have been working with extreme precision in this 5.1672 ha vineyard, in the heart of Saint-Émilion. Small in size, but big in potential. This terroir has a mosaic of soils and an exemplary microclimate. It is like Burgundy. The area of Saint-Christophe des Bardes in particular is precious with its clay-limestone plateau with asteria. Merlot, which is in the majority, flourishes in this vineyard which has been managed organically and biodynamically since the beginning. “We are the first actors in the vineyard, it doesn't make sense to use chemical products”, says Pierre. This talkative and very friendly character is outspoken. He's straightforward. “There is no secret, everything happens in the vineyard. You have to go there every day to observe. What if there's a problem in the vineyard? You have to go and see what's going on in the basement. There is an explanation for everything. Nature is well made”. Axelle anticipates problems, in particular with her traditional physiological pruning technique which allows the wood to retain all its energy. Leaf removal, green harvesting, biodiversity and permaculture are all works and practices that bring life back to the soil. “I want to have the same level of carbon as in the primary forest,” adds Pierre. Salvatore listens with interest. This speech reminds him of his father's questions when he was working his soil.

                      Here, we practice good farming sense.

“It's simple, the idea is to bring in a ripe grape of high quality, then we draw it, we shape it, like a painter would do with his colours”.

The harmony is achieved in the cellar where each plot can express itself. The reds are accompanied gently to keep the fruit and freshness. The whites are stirred to shape the middle of the palate. “We love this perception with Axelle”. Salvatore is particularly pleased with the 2018 and 2020 vintages of Château Croix de Labrie, Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Émilion. He finds them round, straight, greedy and balanced. The 2019 and 2020 Stella Solare Croix de Labrie whites impress him: “I really like their balance, it's super fresh, very elegant, greedy and so long...” Pierre is happy: “Making whites is as difficult as making pastries. We are endocrinal disruptors, that's what's cool!”. When we bring life back into the soil, the vineyard gives us back and the result is there!

Florence Corbalan