Benjamin Gutmann is the manager of Château Jouvente in the Graves appellation in the Bordeaux region. In June 2016, this beautiful family adventure began, which led him to the heart of the vineyards and wine. After his first vinifications, which saw the small family grow, Benjamin tells us the history, projects and ambitions of Château Jouvente.
It is a family story that begins with a crush and the realization of the dream of David, the father, a great wine lover.
"It was a crush. We went to Bordeaux and visited Château Jouvente. We met a very good quality vineyard with a beautifully renovated production tool," Benjamin recalls. With his father and two older brothers, they bought Le Château Jouvente in June 2016.
Unusually, the Gutmann family was not in the wine business at the time. Their love of the product and their desire to develop a family project led them to do so. For Benjamin, this project is a chance to discover a new profession and a field that is exciting. He tells us: "Nothing predestined me for wine, but this project thrilled me from the beginning. In addition, I also wanted to work with my father in an idea of filiation. "Behind this purchase, there are many symbols for Benjamin," for our family, developing a vineyard is rooting and transmission. For us, wine is a noble product that we link to pleasure and life"Indeed, on the day of our first harvest, I have my first child. It's quite a symbol," says the winegrower.
"We place ourselves in the continuity and fruitfulness of what has been done," explains Benjamin. At Château Jouvente, the products are very good and qualitative thanks to the work of Olivier, the production manager who has been present for 20 years. David and Benjamin are aware of this and are committed to valuing them. "Valuation is achieved through transmission. To do this, we organize free visits to the property.
There is no shortage of ideas, a new label, a new logo... but also training and an essential learning phase. "I'm in the process of training. I am studying at the University of Bordeaux at ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin). These are tools that will allow me to have an in-depth dialogue with Olivier," says the winegrower.
Being in continuity does not prevent development, as Benjamin, pragmatic, points out: "With Olivier, our winemaker, we are in continuity. We also work with the same agricultural employee. But the team was also strengthened with the arrival of Nathalie who worked at the Graves union. She knows the appellation and the terroir very well. »
"My task is to make the vineyard grow and to enhance the value of the wines," Benjamin concludes.
At Château Jouvente, several generations coexist, work and share together. To Benjamin's great pleasure, who confides to us, enthusiastic: "There is a complementarity in the generations. I'm 30 years old and I work with people who are all older than me... I am proud of the chemistry and symbiosis I have with these people. We are complementary and it's extremely rich.
"I come here with my youth. My father brings a more traditional touch. Olivier brings me the technical knowledge and makes an excellent wine. "Indeed, the definition of a symbiosis is the right one.
Our Coup de Coeur wines from Domaine Jouvente:
The wines of Château Jouvente are undoubtedly highly appreciated by consumers and wine lovers. The proof: Château Jouvente's Blanc 2015 was awarded a gold medal at the Paris General Competition. Le Rouge 2014 and le Blanc 2015 Château Jouvente were awarded the Trophée des Grands Crus des Graves.
"We make wines that are typical and identifiable of their terroirs. This is something important to me: in this way, I contribute to the renewal of Bordeaux's image at our level.
A successful bet! Château Jouvente's wines are fine, elegant, delicate with structure and character. Benjamin describes them with passion: "For the white, we are only on 2 Ha, it's quite confidential. It's our little jewel. It has an incredible aromatic richness, it is on aromas of exotic fruits and citrus fruits with a very well integrated wood and aromas a little coconut. »
As for the red, it is just as qualitative: "an elegant wine with character. A fine tannic structure, melted tannins. He has a very pleasant elegance," describes the winegrower.
To achieve this result, you need work, experience but above all a lot of passion, enthusiasm and confidence. It is a cocktail that is not lacking at Château Jouvente where every detail counts, from the plot to the barrel, including the cellar.
"For red wine, whose plots extend over less than 7 hectares, we are on late harvests but we are not looking for overripeness. We want an interesting sugar concentration and a wine profile on ripe fruit. Fermentation takes place in vats before maturing in barrels for 12 months. For us, the barrel must be well integrated into the wine. We try to play on fruity and empyreumatic aromas to find the perfect balance. »
Two very promising new products complete the range in April 2017: a pleasure wine, La Source de Château Jouvente 2015 and a rosé, La Fontaine de Jouvente 2016, both for less than 10 euros.
The quality of the wines is a work that begins at the vineyard and Château Jouvente has understood this well. "We are in a sustainable culture", says Benjamin, "We are gradually coming to bio-control, i.e. we are strengthening the resistance of the vines to attacks. »
With the idea of a forthcoming certification in the field: "We are looking for the HVE label (High Environmental Value). Our goal in the struggle is to observe and anticipate.
Manon Mouly (for the Grappes)