The vines of the estate are entirely located in the Lavaux, a region celebrated for the beauty of its landscape and terraced vineyards...
Of the five Vaud viticultural regions, that of Lavaux (registered at the UNESCO World Heritage) is the most spectacular. Its terraced vineyards benefit from "three suns" - the real one, the one reflected by the lake and that stored by the stone walls. Here are to be found Switzerland's finest wines.
The vineyard, whose altitude varies from 400 to 600 metres, profits from the effect of the thermal regulation provided by the lake. Established on parent material containing active chalky limestone, the vineyards have an extremely favourable soil structure, with strong permeability and good aeration. The soil is easily penetrated by roots and resists erosion relatively well.
The work involved in terracing, wall construction and consolidation is nonetheless extensive, and partially explains the high operating costs of the Lavaux vineyards. The sharp gradient provides natural drainage and avoids water stagnation, thereby diminishing grape dilution. The influence of its soils plays a major role in the quality and the personality of the Lavaux wines, notably those from the Chasselas grape, a variety that is especially sensitive to geological, topographical and morphological influences.
The vines of the estate are entirely located in the Lavaux, a region celebrated for the beauty of its landscape and terraced vineyards, and renowned for its growths. In Lavaux, winegrowing is no easy affair with steep slopes and vineyards suspended in the skies. The estate's vineyards, 8 hectares in size, are made up of varying plots within the appellations of Saint-Saphorin, Epesses, Chardonne and Dézaley.
Today, 5,5 hectares occupy the slopes of Saint-Saphorin, characterised by its soil, a combination of clayish chalk resting on a base of chalky rock made up of pebbles joined by sandstone cement.
The same type of compacted pebbly molasse (commonly referred to as "pudding stone") is also found in our Dézaley vines, 0.5 hectares in size. Located in the extension of Dézaley, the vines of Epesses (0.5 hectares) are in fertile soil, into which the marly clay strata constantly releases large quantities of clay.
The Chardonne vines (1.5 hectares) for their part, flourish in chalky-gritty soil with pebbly elements.
As the grape of choice, Chasselas is to Switzerland what Chardonnay is to Burgundy. The canton of Vaud is its preferred territory. It takes up 2,700 hectares of the 2,782 of the area's white variety production and represents 70 % of total output.
It was planted on the Dézaley terraces from the Middle Ages by the Cistercian monks of the Haut-Crêt Abbey. A feature of its production in Vaud is that it soaks up the characteristics of each type of soil and produces "crus" of distinctive appeal for each appelation.
With 75 % of the vines of our estate, the Chasselas is planted on very sunny slopes, with direct southern exposure. For the white wines, our vineyard's vines are completed by a few plots of Pinot Gris (3 %), while for the red wines, Gamay (5 %) keeps to the clayey soils and the Pinot Noir (7 %) the more chalky, so that each one can best express their aromas.
Firmly adhering to a viticultural policy which can be described as "sensible" and environmentally respectful, Bertrand and Eric Bovy rigorously put these principles into practice : natural manuring and treatments are the rule here. The soil is grassed to guard against terrace erosion and fertilisation is based on bovine manure. In addition surplus vine shoots are ground up on the spot, adding to the organic richness of the soils.
The vines are trained in gobelet (single unstaked vine) and guyot ( single, double or arched branches trained on wire from a single stem).. The major part of the work is done manually because of the topography of the sites. This constraint nonetheless does not hamper the use of the latest technology whenever possible, for example in the use of a thermic leaf stripper which has efficiently contributed to the equilibrium of the of the foliar surface.
Planting density is high : 9,000 feet to the hectare ( even higher if the incline of the slope is taken into account).
The average age of the vines is around twenty years and the yields do not exceed 100 hl/ha for the Chasselas and Gamay and 50 hl/ha for the Pinot Noir.
Spring pruning is the focus of special attention. The same care is devoted to the systematic thinning-out of unwanted buds and to "green" picking of surplus grapes (there's no hesitation in letting grapes fall) in order to control yields. Carried out manually, the grape picking is first strictly graded at the vine before passing to wine press or vat.
Regular analyses of the grape constituants are carried out from the month of August in order to determine the optimum maturity of the different varieties and fix the picking dates accordingly.
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