The word "lande" would originate from the Celtic term "landa" which refers to poor and uncultivated lands where broom and heather grow. This difficult soil is favourable for grapevines, providing only few but high-quality grapes. One of the most famous terroirs is Lalande de Pomerol. Conditions are optimal to produce a great wine when, as at Château Pré la Lande, the land culminates on the slope of a hill overlooking the Vallée de la Dordogne.
What is the terroir of a vineyard? This is simply the expression of a wine-grower’s desire to plant vineyards in a specific location. The Ancients knew that vineyards open up where only a few plants can thrive. They also knew that they have to suffer -not too much though - to produce beautiful and good grapes in sufficient quantity. This is why great terroirs are settled on slopes. Unfortunately, because of demand pressure, too many vineyards were planted where only cows should graze.
The concept of vintage comes from the climatic variations.
The Château Pré la Lande has been producing a wine since 1860 from the slope of a hill situated at 120 metres, one of the peaks in Gironde. The natural slopes guarantee a good drainage and the proximity of the Dordogne river a mild climate.
The designation Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, renamed Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux in 2016, is one of the oldest in Gironde with a decree published in 1937.
The terroir is a place but also a ground and a soil. Its composition is of major importance to the quality of grapes and the aromatic expressions of wines. The clay-limestone slopes usually produce wines with expressive nose, deep colour and strong character. The soil of Château Pré la Lande is exclusively made of clay on top of limestone sometimes showing on the surface which guarantees a wine combining elegance with a strong character.
The skill of blending is a tradition in Bordeaux. This is what makes the charm and the sophistication of wines in this region. At Château Pré la Lande, only two of the five grape varieties were produced there: the Merlot and the Cabernet Franc.
The climate change and the desire to get a larger aromatic range brought us to plant some Cabernets Sauvignon and some Malbecs that go into blending from the 2018 vintage.
The plant density is between 5,000 and 5,500 plants per hectare. The grapevines are tied up and have a huge leaf surface.
The cultivation methods
Organic agriculture quickly appeared to us as the only way forward. Biodynamy naturally became self-evident over time.
We work our soils and bring natural origin amendments. We protect our grapevines when it is required by climatic conditions using herbal teas, decoctions and liquid manures from different plants and a little bit of Bordeaux mixture. In our different works, we take lunar cycles and planets into consideration. We bring dynamised preparations in order to develop life into our soils but also strength and resistance to our grapevines.
The grapevine thus flourishes in harmony with the environment and gives the best of itself.
The Ancients knew all of this. This is nothing new!
Each plot is monitored with the analysis and the tasting of grape berries. The harvests begin when the grapes are mature and last for approximately a month depending on the maturities of grapes.
Harvests are made by hand using shallow slatted crates to avoid crushing the grapes. When it gets to the winery, a sorting is made and after the destemming and a light pressing of the grapes, the harvest is put in thermo-regulated stainless steel and concrete vats. Nothing is added to the harvest. A peristaltic pump is used in the winery because it respects the delicate source material.
The winemaking process lasts approximately between 5 and 8 weeks. The harvest is kept at low temperatures in order to make a cold pre-fermentation maceration. Then the natural yeasts begin their alcoholic fermentation work. Measured pumping-overs enable the extraction of colours, tannins and flavours. Each vat is tasted every single day to control the evolution and to decide the works to be done.
When the alcoholic fermentation comes to an end, wines are kept warm for an post-fermentation maceration of approximately one week.
Depending on the characteristics of each wine, some matures in oak barrels and some others in amphoras and egg-shaped tanks made from Italian terracotta. We selected coopers and the type of barrel very carefully so the barrels complement the aromatic range and the woody aroma mingles in harmony without outshining the fruit. Only the best coopers can meet these specifications and guarantee the reproducibility of characteristics of their barrels from one year to the next. The capacity of 300 litres was chosen for the reasons mentioned before and the quantity of new barrels is adapted to fit the vintage characteristics. The ageing lasts at least 12 months but can be extended, if required, when the wine is tasted. The ageing in terracotta containers enables a moderate oxidisation found in oak barrels but thanks to its neutrality, terracotta does not bring any particular taste to the wine. The unique aroma of grapes are revealed and, unlike the ageing in stainless steel tanks, this type of maturing let the tannins become rounder and the aromatic palette become more complex. The wines stay approximately 12 months in 320 to 450L containers.
Storage and Bottling
Our wines are bottled during waning moon on Fruit or Flower days, with no or very few filtering and no finings. We add the bare minimum of sulphite to ensure the stability of wine. We can supply the analysis of bottled wines to show that the total amount of SO2 is distinctly lower than the allowed quantities for biological wines. The bottles are always sealed with corks without chlorine and our supplier commits to use 95% of recycled glass. Our cardboard supplier applies an ecological approach by using 75% of recycled paper and biodegradable inks. Our wines are stored in wine cellar made of stone and labelled when orders are placed. Our wines are certified VEGAN.