Bordeaux garagiste winemakers Michel & Stéphanie Théron farm their parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot in Margaux and Haut-Médoc biodynamically, with aspects of agroforestry. They make natural wines with very low sulfites in the woods. This is classic (pre-Parker) aromatic, elegant and fresh Bordeaux.
“It was mostly the biodynamic wines that spoke to us. There was more emotion in those bottles — somehow more sincere messages were evident in the wines.”
People: Michel & Stéphanie Théron
Place: Margaux and Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Petit Verdot
Did You Know? Clos du Jaugueyron is the name of the small parcel (just 0.4 hectares) in Cantenac that the couple started tending and making wine from. It is one of only a few pre-phylloxera vineyards remaining in France and was planted around 1870 to ten varieties; some of which are no longer seen in the region. They have now passed on the lease to young winemaking couple, Closeries des Moussis.
“For us, the most essential part of biodynamics is the return to simple and complete questions. How is life created under those trees in the forest? How does soil regenerate itself?”
Simply getting rid of synthetic chemical sprays and working manually by ploughing is not always enough, he explains. In order to farm a vineyard to its utmost potential, it takes a more holistic comprehension of how soil functions. He says,
“Claude Bourguignon [famous French soil scientist and agronomist] spoke of an example that is very important to me. If you put a concrete slab in the forest – what will happen to it? After a couple of weeks, there’ll be some fallen leaves on it. After a few months, there’ll be moss growing on it. Next winter, there’ll be some plants growing on it. In a couple of years, there’ll be more, and in 50 years’ time it might be underground, because soil creates itself like this.”
It is the conscious realisation of the natural balance that exists inherently in soil life, and how it can nourish the vine and create healthy grapes, that is of paramount importance for the Thérons.
This notion of balance also extends to the vine itself: