Meet the Winemaker/Owner- Bertrand Sourdais!
The upstart was 2002 Dominio de Atauta “Llanos del Almendro,” made by the then 25-year-old Bertrand Sourdais, a native of Chinon in the Loire Valley. The Atauta post was Bertrand’s first as winemaker, having worked as an understudy at Mouton-Rothschild, Santa Rita in Chile, and for Alvaro Palacios in Priorat.
Trained at the University of Bordeaux, Bertrand had been drawn to Atauta by its ancient, ungrafted vines of unique local Tempranillo clones. In developing the estate from scratch, Bertrand was forced to think critically about each aspect of the wine’s creation, and the results of his efforts have been a string of utterly profound and critically acclaimed wines.
While achieving stardom in Spain, Bertrand remained passionate about his native Chinon, and for its emblematic variety, Cabernet Franc. And so it was inevitable that he would someday apply his gifts at his family’s estate, Domaine de Pallus in the appellation’s heart of Cravant-les-Côteaux.
In the early 2000s, with his father’s retirement nearing, Bertrand took up the challenge of creating something great at Pallus. At Atauta, he had learned to question orthodoxy, and at Pallus he believed he could chart a new course. His goal, ultimately, was to honor Chinon’s soil and its ancient traditions. But he knew that do so, he would need to correct both the flaws that persisted in the region’s traditional methods, while avoiding the mistakes typically made by modernists.
Domaine de Pallus cultivates its eighteen hectares of cabernet franc in the commune of Cravant-les-coteaux. Twelve hectares surround the property on the great limestone soils of the hills and 6 hectares on the sandy-gravelly mound of “Clos de Briancon”. The property has belonged to the family since 1889 and specialized in 1985 in the production of fine wines. Their philosophy is to cultivate the vines, to vinify and to raise the wines in order to make them evolve permanently towards the characteristics of Domaine de Pallus. Established in 1883 and now run by Proprietor/Winemaker Bertrand Sourdais.
Along with his hometown winery in France Bertrand owns and has made wine for over the past quarter century in Ribera del Duero Spain. This regions is highly unexplored by winemakers. In fact, if it weren’t for a young Sourdais, Soria might still be unknown. Bertrand first brought Soria to light with his pioneering wines at Atauta, a village within the province. But when Atauta was sold in 2009 during Spain’s economic downturn, his gaze shifted to his family’s Chinon estate in France’s Loire Valley.
The pull of Soria remained strong and he soon returned to the region to make a new wine which, like all of his work at Atauta would be full of the soul of ancient-vine Tinto Fino.
And so, Antídoto was born. As at Atauta, his goal is to capture the essence of this singular region. And he will do so by sourcing from the best vineyard sites (many of which date from the time before Phylloxera) and by ultimately managing the viticulture himself. Wherever possible, he will employ organic and, when possible, biodynamic methods.
As for Antídoto’s intriguing name, Spanish for “antidote” it has a particular meaning for Bertrand in the wake of Atauta’s sale. But the wine also serves as an antidote to the many Ribera de Duero wines that substitute heavy-handed winemaking for a sense of place and variety. And at a relatively modest price point, it is surely an antidote to high wine prices in the appellation.
2014 Antidoto Ribera del Duero :: $26 Sale $23
Antídoto 2014 displays a surprising expression of ripe fruit on the nose, without excessive maturation, with a subtle woody aroma that provides precision and clarity to the whole. On the palate it is generous and maintains a cool and silky balance, distinguished by the ‘terroir’ of Soria, whose altitude softens the summer rigour.
2013 Pallus Chinon Messanges :: $19 Sale $16
Messanges is an old Loire Valley name for Cabernet Franc. Bertrand is using this line for a Red and Rosé from his younger vines. Vinified for immediate accessibility, they are the perfect introduction to the Pallus style.It has a floral and spicy character which will pair well with Sausages and goat cheese.
2012 Pallus Les Pensees :: $29 Sale $25
Dark ruby-colored the 2013 Chinon Les Pensées de Pallus Cabernet Franc offers a nicely matured and sweet red fruit aroma intertwined with floral aromas like licorice and violets, but also crystalline or earthy/vegetal flavors. Silky-textured, fresh and vital, with a stunning finesse and charming sweetness, this is a pretty Burgundian Chinon with a long and aromatic, seriously concentrated finish.
Need we say more? We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS!
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