The vineyards of Menetou-Salon lie in the north of the Centre Loire region and rub shoulders with appellations such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
In addition to the geographical location, another defining characteristic is its semi-continental which is particularly well suited to the cultivation of the vine and the secret to such incredibly fresh wines.
Our plots were carefully structured by previous generations of our family and are situated in outstanding terroirs in ten of the appellation’s communes.
Clos de Coquin, Clos des Barres, Clos Saint-Pierre, Clos de Bâton, Clos du Lardat, Clos de Blanchet and Clos des Treilles. Each plot is individually named in the land registry and benefits from its own microclimate as well as unique characteristics which were identified centuries ago by our ancestors.
We also cultivate plots of vines belonging to our partner winegrowers which are treated to the same care and attention as our own vines. Our vineyards are planted with two-thirds Sauvignon Blanc and one third Pinot Noir with the latter being used to produce our reds and rosés. Our vines are low, narrow and densely planted at 8,000 vine stocks per hectare which is the optimum threshold for aromatic expression. Our vines are deeply rooted in our soils which enables them to impart such exceptional complexity and minerality to our wines.
and yet the presence of small fossilized oyster shells scattered throughout our soils indeed attests to the existence of these waters. Over 150 million years ago the Jurassic period gave rise to a geological stratum known as Kimmeridgian. Marine sediments deposited over millions of years have created ideal conditions for winegrowing. Our varietals thrive here and have resulted in what is one of the finest expressions of Sauvignon Blanc in the whole world. The region’s Pinot Noirs are also outstanding and develop a remarkably elegant profile when grown in these soils.
An outstanding terroir alone is not enough to produce outstanding wines however and the vine stocks must also be of the highest quality. The wines from Châtenoy come from very old vine stocks that receive our utmost care and attention allowing us to create consistently high-quality wines.
The wines from Châtenoy come from very old vine stocks that receive our utmost care and attention allowing us to create consistently high-quality wines. The majority of vines planted in France and around the world originate from ‘clonal selections’ meaning that the vine stock is reproduced identically and on a large scale for reasons of productivity and convenience. We, on the other hand, decided to opt for ‘massal selection’ as we take great pride in preserving the intangible legacy and genetic diversity of our vines. The selection was made from our oldest Sauvignon vines which were planted in 1927 by Pierre Alexandre Clément. In addition to the quality benefits of this meticulous work, we can’t help but feel that Pierre Alexandre’s spirit is still alive at the domaine!
Our family is committed to a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to wine growing and has implemented several initiatives to protect the environment. After being awarded Terra Vitis and HVE certification, it was natural for us to begin the organic agriculture conversion process in 2021. Our commitment to the environment goes far beyond organic practices however! Our pledge to respect the flora, for example, is reflected by our ‘Zero plastic in the vineyards’ policy (the young vines are protected by cardboard coverings). Hedgerows and fruit trees have been planted around the plots to improve biodiversity. And because we like to leave our vines in the capable hands of Nature, we have also built several chickadee nesting boxes in the vineyards. This was not just to hear their lovely bird song but because they feed on insects that would otherwise enjoy devouring our grapes. These chickadees are therefore a natural way of preventing insects from damaging our vines. Lastly, and because a high-quality wine requires impeccable hygiene, we have introduced an innovative cleaning system in our cellars that uses ozone instead of chemical products.
The harvests are one of the most important moments in our profession as they are the culmination of an entire year’s work.
Each and every vine stock is carefully tended throughout the growing cycle to ensure the highest quality fruit come September. The date for the start of the harvests varies depending on the weather conditions over the year in general but also on the micro-climates of each individual plot of vines and terroir. A team of around 30 pickers help us reap the fruit of a whole year’s work which involves a variety of tasks including pruning, ploughing, disbudding and leaf stripping.
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