Alain Dufourg is the winegrower of Château Marchand Bellevue, in the Entre-deux-Mers, in the commune of Targon, where he has been cultivating 33 hectares of vines since 2010. Alain comes from a family of winegrowers. As far back as his memories go, Alain worked with his feet in the vineyards. Thus, as soon as he graduated with a BTS degree in agricultural management and accounting, he returned to the family estate, from which began a wonderful adventure in the world of wine.
In 2010, the winegrower left to make his mark on himself with his grandfather's land and gave a new lease of life to the estate: he renamed the château "Marchand Bellevue", developed new products and changed distribution channels. "I was working in the mass retail sector, but I didn't find it easy to respond to calls for tenders from the big retailers. The negotiation was only about the price, down to the penny," says Alain. He therefore decided to turn to independent wine merchants: "I have developed a network of wine merchants, particularly in Limousin and Auvergne because these are two regions that are not saturated with Bordeaux wines," explains the winegrower. "Marketing by independent wine merchants is much more in line with my work philosophy because we have real human relations".
At the same time, Alain and Sylvie, his partner who joined him on the estate, are developing the Internet sales and home sales network: "We started working with Les Grappes, then Sylvie set up a website to develop online sales. This year, we have the project to develop direct sales to the estate. A beautiful project that will lead to the construction of a tasting room at Château Marchand Bellevue.
The 33 Ha of vines at Château Marchand Bellevue are exclusively in red. And the reason is quite simple: "I don't really like dry white wines," smiles Alain, "but I can only make wines that I like and like. "Château Marchand Bellevue is predominantly Merlot, a large Bordeaux grape variety that also borders on Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, less common in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, but pampered by Alain. "Petit verdot is a grape variety typical of the Médoc. I really appreciate it in the blends because it brings peppery, spicy and characterful notes to the wine," says the winegrower.
When Alain takes a new turn in 2010, he decides to return to the soil, the earth and nature: "I have softened and I wanted to work while respecting the plant". Alain now finds his balance in sustainable agriculture: "I only do treatments if it is necessary, if the pressure of the fungi is high or if the risks are high," he asserts. Thanks to these thoughtful treatments, Alain can work on much more qualitative grapes. "The land is my working tool and I want it to last a long time. To do this, I try to produce wines that respect the environment and the plant.
Alain Dufourg produces fruity, supple and smooth red wines
Alain harvests very ripe grapes. This objective requires constant monitoring in the vineyards during September, with many observations, before launching the harvest GO. "Fortunately, I have the opportunity to be very responsive. So I can decide at the last minute when the harvest will take place," says the winegrower.
Once in the cellar, the grapes are pampered in a cellar built on several levels. « Gravity work allows me to limit the crushing of the grapes and thus avoid damaging them," Alain explains.
A sorting of the grapes is carried out to eliminate all impurities and work on healthy grapes. Before fermentation, Alain does a cold pre-fermentation maceration at 8°C for 3 to 4 days to extract the first fruity notes from the grapes. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation, Alain launches a second maceration, hot (35°C) which allows him to extract tannic matter.
These choices are made by Alain who wants to produce "fruity wines that are pleasurable and easy to drink. The wines of Château Marchand Bellevue are wines with character, they are tasty, fruity and supple. They have enough tannins to be kept for a few years. »
Finally, if there is a watchword in the cellar of Château Marchand Bellevue, it is hygiene. "In the cellar, I give a very special importance to hygiene. Indeed, I consider that to make good wine you need a lot of water. In my cellar, I want impeccable hygiene," Alain confides.
Only the Dolmen cuvée is aged in new barrels for 18 to 20 months. The other vintages, including Château Marchand Bellevue, are matured in vats for a few months with monthly racking.
"Dolmen is not produced for all vintages," says Alain, "I have to have the quality of wine that goes with it. If I lack tannins on a vintage, the wood will dominate the wine. So I prefer not to make vintages. I make Dolmen when I can, because it has to be top-notch.
Find the wines of Château Marchand Bellevue here
Manon Mouly (for Les Grappes)