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La Porte St Jean — Sylvain Dittière

Sylvain comes from a family of rose growers. Intrigued by wine, he was bitten by the wine bug while working at Château Yvonne. He went on to work at iconic domaines such as Clos Rougeard and Gauby, setting up his own domaine in 2010, where he makes compelling & natural Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc & Sauvignon Blanc.

|I’ve only worked with organic winemakers; but it’s more than that. There are lots of organic viticulturists who add all sorts of things to the wine, but aside from a tiny amount of sulfites, I’ve never added anything."

People:  Sylvain Dittière

Place:  Saumur, Loire, France

Varieties:  Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc (and the occasional rose petal!)

Hectares:  8.5

Farming:  Organic 

Wines: Click here

Did You Know? Sylvain’s vin de pétanque as he calls it, ie. his fun, easy drinking cuvée that you can drink while playing pétanque (could our mental image be any more French right now?) is a pét-nat named Six Roses. It undergoes a short maceration period with rose petals, as a nod to his family. 

Sylvain & his son in 'Les Pouches'

Each vineyard’s soils become home to different microbial populations. Sylvain feels this is what gives the wines their distinct characteristics:

“Natural yeasts give the wines their taste. If you add yeast, then the wines end up tasting the same. It’s the diversity of the yeast and bacteria population that gives the wine its character.”

Since beginning with two cuvées in his first vintage, he now makes three whites and three reds, as well as the bubbles. Through Sylvain’s many years of learning about farming and winemaking, he came to the conclusion that in order to make low intervention wine that was also clean, he needed one crucial ingredient: time. He explains, 

"To avoid using additions – and to be able to say this is wine just made from grapes – I do very long élevage. I never filter the wines, and the long ageing means we’re able to ensure the wines’ microbiological stability. Then, just before bottling, I add a small amount of sulfites (always less than 30mg), just to ensure the wine is well protected for travelling. That’s a choice I make because...

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