Benjamin Gutmann is the manager of Château Jouvente on the Graves appellation in the Bordeaux region. In June 2016 begins this beautiful family adventure which leads him in the middle of 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 starts with a crush and the realization of the dream of David, the father, a great wine lover.
"It's been a favorite. We went to the Bordeaux region and visited Château Jouvente. We met a very good quality vineyard with a beautifully renovated production tool", Benjamin recalls. With his father and his two older brothers, they bought Le Château Jouvente in June 2016.
Unusual fact, the Gutmann family is then not in the wine business. The love of the product and the desire to develop a family project bring them there. For Benjamin, this project is a chance to discover a new profession and an industry that is proving to be exciting. He tells us: "Nothing predestined me for wine, but this project excited me from the start. Besides, I also had at heart 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. Wine, for us, 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 winemaker.
Father and son together in the vineyard. The arrival of a new generation?
"We place ourselves in the continuity and fruitfulness of what has been done," Benjamin explains. 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 conscious of this and apply themselves to valorize them. "The valorization passes by the transmission. For this, we organize free visits of the property ".
There is no lack of ideas, a new label, a new logo ... but also training and an indispensable learning phase. "I am in the process of training. I'm studying at the University of Bordeaux at the ISVV (Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences) and these are tools that will allow me to have an in-depth dialogue with Olivier," says the winemaker.
Being in continuity does not prevent development, as Benjamin, a pragmatic man, points out: "With Olivier, our winemaker, we are in continuity. We also work with the same agricultural employee. But the team has also been strengthened with the arrival of Nathalie, who used to work for the Graves union. She knows the appellation and the terroir very well. »
"My task is to make the vineyard bear fruit and enhance the value of the wines," Benjamin concludes.
At Château Jouvente, several generations work and share together. To the great pleasure of Benjamin who confides to us, enthusiastic: "There is a complementarity in the generations. I am 30 years old and I work with people who are all older than me . I am proud of the alchemy and the symbiosis I have with these people. We are complementary and it is 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, this is the definition of a symbiosis.
Our Coup de Coeur vintages of Domaine Jouvente :
The wines of Château Jouvente are certainly very much appreciated by consumers and wine lovers. The proof: the White 2015 of Château Jouvente was gold medal winner of the Concours Général de Paris, while the Red 2014 and the White 2015 Château Jouvente were winners of the Trophée des Grands Crus des Graves.
"We make wines that are typical and identifiable of their terroirs. This is something important for me: in this way, I contribute at our level to the renewal of the image of Bordeaux ".
Bet's on! The wines of Château Jouvente 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 is our small 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. It has a very pleasant elegance ", describes the winemaker.
To achieve this result, you need work, experience but above all a lot of passion, enthusiasm and confidence. This is a cocktail that is not lacking at Château Jouvente where every detail counts, from the plot to the barrel, via the cellar.
"For the red wine, whose plots of land cover less than 7 hectares, we are on a late harvest but we are not looking for over-ripeness. We want an interesting sugar concentration and a wine profile with 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 will 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 starts in the vineyard and Château Jouvente has understood this. "We are in reasoned culture", says Benjamin, "We are gradually getting to bio-control, that is to say that we are reinforcing the resistance of the vine plants against attacks".
In the idea of a future certification on the domain: "We are looking for the HVE label (High Environmental Value). Our goal for the fight is to observe and anticipate".
Manon Mouly (for the Grappes)
Delivery in 3/5 working days OFFERED from 6 bottles upwards