Bordeaux may be known for its fancy "garage" wines, but these actually are made in a garage. Pascale Choime and Laurence Alias have slowly collected vineyards over the years, converting them all to biodynamics, including one prephylloxera parcel. Winemaking is hands-off and low intervention, and these pure wines shine.
LITTLEWINE visited Pascale & Laurence at their cellar
"To make wines like we do, we need ourselves - human beings - and time. Wines must be given the time that they need."
People: Laurence Alias and Pascale Choime
Place: Bordeaux, France
Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? They also have a négoce range of vin de France wines where they work with friends who also farm organically or biodynamically. This allows them to play around and experiment with varieties and methods that wouldn’t be permitted under Bordeaux AOC laws.
Once upon a time, Michel and Stéphanie Theron of Clos du Jaugueyron were leased an incredibly rare parcel of ancient vines by a kind neighbour who believed in their artisanal values and future as vignerons. Today, they believe it is important to pass it on, to allow other winemakers who don’t come from Château families to begin working in the region. This led them to meet Laurence Alias and Pascale Choime, and the Jaugueyron duo decided to part with their beloved parcel and to pass on the lease to this young couple in 2009, to help them to launch their dreams.
This parcel is believed to have been planted around 1870. As well as being home to this genetic minefield, it is also home to an old method of reproducing vines, known as “layering,” or marcottage in French. This is when a branch of a vine is fed into a hole in the ground and up on the other side. The vine actually does this itself in nature, so if a human being does it for the vine, it knows instinctively to create roots in the section that has been buried, and eventually it’s possible to cut away the original branch so that the one plant becomes two plants. Once phylloxera, a louse that devours the roots of the European grapevine species vitis vinifera, came over on boats from America in the 19th century, unfortunately almost all of the vineyards in Europe were killed. Thankfully, the varieties were saved by grafting them onto American vine rootstocks, but this meant that planting this species of vines on their own roots was no longer possible. This included this technique of layering, so it was almost lost forever. However, for some miraculous reason, phylloxera has never reached this parcel. Perhaps this is because it’s slightly further away from its neighbours, or because its soils are a little sandier, or just because the owner refused to believe that phylloxera would one day destroy it. Therefore, it still stands, shoulders tall.