Château Le Prieuré is a 6.24-hectare wine domaine located immediately alongside the medieval town. The vines grow on Saint-Emilion’s limestone plateau and on the south-facing clay-limestone slopes. It is a unique and exceptional location with panoramic views over the Dordogne valley. The property is a 5-minute walk from Porte Brunet, which is the eastern entrance to the town of Saint-Emilion. Several elements contribute to the site’s rich biodiversity: low stone walls, hedgerows, fruit trees, terraces, copses, etc.
The planting ratio is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc and the vines are an average age of 30 years. We have carried out massal selection in our most recent plantings.
We seek to bring out the finest expression of our terroir in our wines and to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the balance between the vine, the soils and the environment, with each new vintage.
Our ‘garden’ of vines is made up of 19 distinct plots. We also use an intra-plot approach and practices to adapt to each unit of terroir that responds differently to the weather conditions of each vintage.
The majority of our vineyards are located on the asteriated limestone plateau, but as soon as you move away from the plateau, the land becomes more rugged with fine-textured soils from Castillon limestone and clay. These plots enjoy a southern exposure, which is particularly conducive to the ripening of the grapes in these naturally cooler terroirs.
These 19 plots sit at an altitude of between 56m and 90m. The various orientations and exposures form a patchwork of plots with distinctive characteristics that will enrich our blends in their own manner with each vintage.
The Prieuré vineyard has been biodynamically grown since 2015. The aim of biodynamic practices is to achieve a stable viticultural organism vis-à-vis external pressures (climatic stress and fungal stress in particular). We therefore seek to reintroduce biodiversity into our production system and restore life to the soil. To this end, we use biodynamic preparations in the vineyards as well as herbal infusions and plant decoctions (nettle, horsetail, osier, chamomile, comfrey and yarrow) following the principles of phytotherapy.
Our practices are based on differentiated agronomic itineraries: sowing cereals or legumes, adapted ploughing tools, burying the inter-row grass as necessary, mulching, pruning and thinning guidelines, organic manure, etc.
Certain terraces and part of the steeply sloping plots cannot be worked mechanically by tractor and are only accessible by horse. In addition to the practical advantages, the introduction of the horse for all our ploughing work in 2015 is a symbol of our commitment to putting man and animal back in the heart of the vineyards, enabling us to avoid soil compaction and monitor changes in the vineyards more closely.
Commitment to the environment
We have been certified for “Organic Agriculture” since the 2018 vintage. This certification is part of the broader framework of HVE 3 (High Environmental Value Level 3) and ISO 14 001 certifications within the framework of the Environmental Management System for Bordeaux wines (SME).
They support our work to continuously reduce our impact on the environment and improve the well-being of our employees. Reducing energy consumption, systematically sorting and recycling waste, prioritising the safety and quality of life of our employees, our neighbours and our consumers are now all part of our daily practices.
Our vinification practices aim to respect the raw material as much as possible. We harvest using small 10 kg crates to ensure that the grapes arrive in the cellars in perfect condition. The fruit is sorted in the vineyard if necessary and again upon its arrival in the vat house, both before and after de-stemming. We vinify in small, temperature-controlled concrete tanks.
Extraction is carried out through two gentle pumping over operations. We pay close attention to the balance between aromatic complexity and tannic structure. This same quest for balance continues during the ageing process using new oak barrels with a moderate toast in addition to clay amphoras. The wines are barrel-aged for 12 to 15 months depending on the vintage.