Nathalie and Jérôme are the winegrowers of Château Boutinet, a beautiful property on the slopes of Fronsac in the Bordeaux region. Guide and winegrowers, they combine the two activities: wine tourism and wine production for the greatest pleasure of wine and nature lovers. The projects are numerous and ambitious: biodynamics, a new vintage but above all, the renovation of Château Boutinet, the estate's emblem.
Nathalie and Jérôme met at the University. Nathalie was then an interpreter guide and hiking guide in the vineyards. She returned to Bordeaux University to improve her skills in tasting and winemaking. It crosses the path of Jérôme who has behind him the experience of many vinifications.
Together, they embarked on the winegrower's adventure by buying Château Boutinet and its 8Ha15 vines in 2011. This 18th century property, located on the slopes of Fronsac, produces wine in the Bordeaux Supérieur appellation.
"Jerome fell into wine when he was very young. For my part, I am a guide interpreter and trainer at the Bordeaux Wine School. To sum it up, he makes the wine, I drink it! »
"Our objective is not simply to make wine, but to welcome you to the property. The terroir is certainly important, but above all we wanted a pleasant place to receive, welcome and live," says Nathalie.
Thanks to her experience as a guide, she analyses: "I visit properties all year round where you spend a lot of time in the cellars and vats and very little time in the vineyards.
You mustn't do that. More and more, people want to return to nature, have a garden and grow tomatoes... At Château Boutinet, we want to explain to them how we can have such extraordinary and different wines from grapes. »
They then set up many wine tourism activities. Les Rando-Tapas is Château Boutinet's flagship activity: the couple of winegrowers propose a 1h15 walk, followed by a tasting of the Château's wines accompanied by homemade tapas: "We took lessons with a chef last year to cook the tapas ourselves. The idea is conviviality," explains the winegrower.
They also offer visits and tastings, in the vineyards and in the cellar, as well as hikes through the vineyard to discover the Fronsac terroir.
Nathalie and Jérôme are very attached to the vines, to their land and to this terroir. According to the famous adage "to make good wine, you need beautiful grapes", the couple work the vines meticulously and take care of the soil.
"We are in sustainable agriculture. Since our arrival, we have worked the soil a lot. Our objective is to move towards biodynamics. "This year, the winegrowers are beginning the conversion to Organic Farming. In parallel, Nathalie is training for the first year at the Ecole Lyonnaise des Plantes Médicinales et des Savoirs Naturels (ELPMSN): "I want to understand why I use nettle or silica at such a time. It is a real life decision to move towards biodynamics. It's something that speaks to me," she says.
When the winegrowers arrive on the estate, the wines are vinified in the cooperative cellar. They decide to make their own wines with grapes selected from the best plots of the Château.
"Our 2 best plots are on a clay and limestone plateau and are planted with Merlot. It is the quality that has dictated that our wines will be 100% Merlot," Nathalie says.
Wine making is a real team effort: "We both like the same wine profiles that remain on the fruit. Even our cuvée that goes into barrels must not be hidden by the wood. We want fruit, freshness and acidity," explains the winegrower.
Nathalie and Jérôme produce 3 wines, one Clairet and two reds:
Château Boutinet wines are available on Les Grappes.
There is no shortage of projects in the field and ideas are emerging. "In June 2017, we will market a new cuvée, L'étoile de Boutinet. This vintage was born a little by chance in 2012 and we redid it in 2015," says Nathalie. Originality? The purchase of a bottle will finance a stone that will allow the reconstruction of Château Boutinet, a magnificent residence in ruins.
On this date, they will also inaugurate a new tasting room: "It is an original tasting room.... I can't say any more than that. It's a surprise," concluded Nathalie, enigmatic. To be continued.....
Manon Mouly (for the Grappes)