When we speak about the world's top wine regions, the ones that even the non-drinkers heard about, we all mention Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, maybe Piedmont. And what picture pops-up in our minds? Regardless of whether we've been there or seen it in someone's Instagram we imagine hills covered with vineyards to the horizon. Basically, no other agriculture, no crops, no animals.
But it would be very naive to imagine that this is the way it was done a couple of hundreds of years ago. Moreover, sometimes even half a century ago. Wine has been for a long time a synonym to fancy life - aristocrats and bishops were getting the crème de la crème, but we also know that wine was the most common drink for all levels of society. It was safer than water, as it's fermented. However, the wine wasn't a synonym to big business, parkers-sucklings-robinsons weren't invented yet, neither were wine auctions, so whole regions and countries couldn't rely on making their living solely out of producing wine.
So what were they doing? They were 'disloyal' to Vitis vinifera and growing various crops :) Wheat, barley, corn, beans, potatoes and lots of cattle, as there weren't many vegetarians then. And yes, also vine and vineyards, among all these crops and funky animals.
Therefore, after such a long preamble, let me take you to a place where wine is both - luxurious with sky-rocketed prices, but grown in those old-school traditions of our great-great-grandparents. Surprisingly, this place is well hidden in Bordeaux - the world's most commercial winemaking region with one of the most densely planted vineyards.
Chateau Le Puy - when biodynamic certification knocks your door by chance
"We never aimed for any kind of certification, this is just the way wine was made here for the last 400 years". This is how Emeline, the representative of Chateau Le Puy starts her explanation about the estate's philosophy. Fruit trees, cows, horses were always part of their ecosystem, at least for more than 400 years. Ever since family Amoreau owns this land.
The whole philosophy of the family is quite a bit rebellious. They enjoy being outsiders in Bordeaux with their own way of doing things. Jean-Pierre Amoreau who leads the chateau since the 90's even promised to break the rules of INAO and step out of the appellation system. From vintage 2017 all Chateau Le Puy wines will be labelled as Vin de France only. Wines that are