Claude & Etienne Courtois 'L'Icaunais' 2017
Producer: Claude & Etienne Courtois
Notes: Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exempliﬁes what biodynamic is in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower. He farms a balanced & completely chemical free 13-hectares of vines in the heart of the VDP Sologne. Courtois also grows organic wheat, which he feeds to his cows. “Nothing comes into my vineyard,” he says, meaning no chemicals ever. He has created a well-balanced, bio-diversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods, and ﬁelds. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. The grapes—Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature and the wines he crafts are a pure and vibrant testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.
Claude, who is growing older, has started to pass off the winemaking to his son Etienne, who is already showing immense promise. Currently Claude only makes the Racines cuvées and Etienne is in charge of the others. Etienne is another example of the new generation taking over, bringing a new level of precision to winemaking, much as Baptiste cousin has with some of his father Olivier’s wines. As Claude did before him, Etienne is continuing the tradition of very long elevage in barrel, including up to 4 years in barrel for the cuvée des étourneaux gamay! Etienne has begun to experiment with slightly shorter elevage times, and so far we have been excited by the added freshness and acidity we see in these wines.
'L'Iaunais' is the local name for the grape variety Gascon, a practically unknown local grape variety. The Gascon grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and gently pressed. 30 months in barrels for elevage.--Jenny and Francois Selections