Portraits Vignerons - Le château de Fontenay, un des pionniers de l’appellation Chenonceau - Les Grappes

The Château de Fontenay, one of the pioneers of the Chenonceau appellation

When Nathalieand Philippe decided to settle in Touraine with their family, they fell under the spell of the Château de Fontenay. This was the beginning of a wonderful wine-growing adventure for the entrepreneurs. In partnership with Didier Corby, the château's winemaker, the trio is destined for a bright future in wine.

Château de Fontenay: the result of a beautiful encounter

"We had a historical passion for wine that led us to Château de Fontenay. As we were both entrepreneurs, we wanted to get into the vine and wine business. Didier was the winemaker on the estate belonging to the château. We therefore decided to join forces and develop the wine estate together", explains Philippe Carli, owner of the château.

Between the three protagonists, the roles are naturally divided. Didier is in charge of vinification and the technical aspects of the business, while Nathalie and Philippe are in charge of marketing (redesigning the range, modernising the labels), sales and the management of the business. "The Château de Fontenay is a showcase that allows us to accompany and welcome our customers in an environment that matches the quality of the wines we want to produce," says Philippe.

"We all decided together to invest in the Château de Fontenay's winegrowing activity: new vats, equipment to switch to sustainable agriculture, planting of vines. We went from 6 to 15 hectares", says the owner of the château.

Château de Fontenay is a pioneer in the Touraine Chenonceau appellation

This investment was quickly realized with the creation of the Touraine Chenonceau appellation. "We launched the new appellation in 2011. To be able to claim the appellation, you have to have vines on the Cher hillsides less than 10 km from the famousChâteau de Chenonceau and comply with strict specifications," explains Philippe.

"We have slightly sloping land, made up of a mixture of clay, limestone and sand, which lends itself well to white and red wines.We have slightly sloping land, made up of a mixture of clay, limestone and sand which lends itself well to white and red wines based on grape varieties such as Sauvignon andChenin, but also Cabernet Franc and Malbec. This terroir allows us to create wines that have great aromatic richness and at the same time have body and a very good balance between minerality and fruit.

"The most important thing to produce high quality wines is the work in the vineyards", Philippe Carli

"The more time we spend in the vineyards, the more quality grapes we get", says Philippe. "We try to avoid treatments as much as possible. Our priority is the quality of the grapes and not the yield. We spend a lot of time in the vineyard to get beautiful grapes with which we can make wine in the most natural way possible.

"We are lucky to have other grape varieties: chardonnay, gamay, grolleau, which allows us to make more original wines by going beyond the appellation. I like to think of us as craftsmen and creators of wines.

Château de Fontenay expects beautiful grapes in 2019

As the 2019 harvest approaches, how are the grapes at Château de Fontenay doing? "We have beautiful grapes, although there is less quantity than last year because we lack water. That said, the weather was very good, so the sanitary situation is good and the vintage should be nice. We will be able to make wines with a nice aromatic variety", Philippe anticipates.

With this turn in his life towards the world of wine, Philippe finds Château de Fontenay an invaluable living environment. "I love the closeness to nature which makes us humble. Every year is different, we feel closer to the actors of the territory and directly in the real life. You have to take bets on the future, it's a job of passion and sharing".

A future turned towards ecology

"We have several ideas in the pipeline. The project for a new, more ecological winery. For this, we are working with an architect to free ourselves from air conditioning thanks to a thick, semi-buried concrete cellar that will allow us to keep cool naturally. We are also going to take advantage of this to work in gravitation, the principle of which is to put the different stages of wine production at different heights to avoid using pumps.

In the vineyard, the next step is theHigh Environmental Value certification, before going even further."

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