Bertrand Sourdais, is among the finest Cabernet Franc producers in the world today. He grew up at Pallus but decamped for Spain after completing his enology studies in Bordeaux. While achieving stardom in Spain, Bertrand remained passionate about his native Chinon, and for its emblematic variety, Cabernet Franc.
In the early 2000s, with his father’s retirement nearing, Bertrand took up the challenge of creating something great at Pallus. In Spain, he questioned orthodoxy and returning to Pallus believed he could chart a new course.
His goal, ultimately, was to honor Chinon’s soils and its ancient traditions. But he knew that to do so he would need to correct the flaws that persisted in the region’s traditional methods, while avoiding the mistakes typically made by modernists.
Bertrand began his quest in the autumn of 2003. From the start, he has worked in the vineyards to create harmony and balance, while striving tirelessly to find the potential of each vine. And though biodynamics have become an important tool for many Loire Valley growers, they were merely a starting point in Bertrand’s quest to set his vineyards on the right path.
He has completely rethought the winemaking process; often reverting to techniques favored by much earlier generations. He employs extended macerations—up to an astonishing forty days—to capture the ‘true’ personality of Chinon. Elévage is similarly long and gentle; he primarily ages his wines in used barrels from elite Burgundy estates. The wines are handled less, and bottled later, than those of almost any other domaine in Chinon.