St Emilion’s Chateau Fleur de Lisse celebrates inauguration of its new winery
Last week (26 November) saw more than 300 people gather in the presence of Edouard Philippe, the former French Prime Minister, to celebrate the official opening of Chateau Fleur de Lisse’s new cellar and wine-making facility.
The property is part of the Teycheney Familly’s Vignobles Jade group, which comprises 32 hectares in St Emilion, all biodynamically farmed, over three properties – Chateau Fleur de Lisse, Chateau L’Etampe and Fontfleurie.
Vignobles Jade was created in 2015 when Patrick Teycheney took over the running of the family’s properties with his wife, Evelyne and his daughter Caroline who was appointed President. The project was ambitious – to bring together a ‘dream team’ focussed around Jean-Claude Berrouet as consultant oenologist and to begin immediately the conversion to organic and biodynamic wine-making. AB certification was attained in 2020 and a strategy to achieve the double certification of Demeter and Biodyvin is already in place.
A third part of the project was the construction of an entirely new wine-making facility at Chateau Fleur de Lisse. This needed to be capable of vinifying all of Vignobles Jade’s St Emilion. It was designed by the Bordeaux-based Goldfinger Architects working with a range of local artisan craftsmen. The design combines the ancient and the modern with featuring a patented state of the art walkway connecting the vinification tanks in the most ergonomically efficient manner and a beautiful barrel cellar lit by stained-glass windows designed and manufactured by the master glassmaker, Henri Martin-Granel.
The result is something rather singular. As Catherine Teycheney explains, “The term ‘winery’ is more suited to the dynamics of this project than that of ‘Chateau’. It is a place in which the visitor discovers a universe of know-how and of passion. The cellar of Château Fleur de Lisse was designed to share a variety of experiences. We want the Bordelais to be present, they will bring the local atmosphere that our visitors are looking for”.
Fleur de Lisse 2020 (St Emilion; from a vineyard of 8.65 hectares with vines aged between 40 and 50 years on the foot of the lime and limestone slopes of Saint-Etienne de Lisse; 74% Merlot; 26% Cabernet Franc; biodynamic wine-making since 2017; aging in oak foudres, barriques and in amphora; Jean-Claude & Jean-François Berrouet are the consultants here). Another brilliant wine from Vignobles Jade. Limpid, pure, translucent and with an evidently very gentle and careful extraction. Wonderfully expressive of the luminous character of the vintage, this is charged with bright, aerial, fresh dark berry, raspberry and cassis fruit, assorted crushed peppercorns, wild herbs, gorse and heather and a touch of graphite too. I love the touch of red and blackcurrant leaf on the attack that gives this a brilliantly lifted entry, reinforced by the very fine-grained tannins that stretch this out over the top of the palate and the roof of the mouth. Elegant, refined and refreshingly moreish too. 92-94+.
L’Etampe 2020 (St Emilion; a vineyard of 1.5 hectares between Figeac and Montlabert and with vines between 40 and 50 years of ages; 84% Merlot; 16% Cabernet Franc; aging in oak barrels of one previous use; just 5000 bottles; biodynamic wine-making since 2017). Impressive stuff. Jean-Claude &Jean-François Berrouet are the consultants here, which goes some way to explaining the quality. This is the first time I’ve tasted this wine or, indeed, any of the wines in the Vignobles Jade range. Slightly darker in hue and extraction than Fontfleurie, but still nicely translucent and limpid in the glass. This has a lovely pure and lifted blueberry, bramble and raspberry fruit with wild herbs and very natural mossy/loamy undertones. Aerial and luminous on the attack, this is shimmering, very pure and precise with a lovely sense of forward momentum on focus. Very accessible and with the biodynamic wine-making really accentuating the brightness and freshness of the vintage. Highly recommended. 92-94.
Fontfleurie 2020 (St Emilion; a vineyard of 17 hectares in Saint-Hippolyte, with a smaller parcel between Ausone and Pavie-Macquin; 68% Merlot; 32% Cabernet Franc; 13% aged in amphora; organic and biodynamic; Jean-Claude & Jean-François Berrouet are the consultants). Light extraction, garnet core with purple highlights. Very floral and herbal on the nose – dried lavender and freshly picked sage with pure raspberry juice. Bright and gently caressing on the entry with a lovely clarity in the mid-palate, a wondrous sense of energy and a sapid juiciness. Simple but very pleasurable, with grippy-grainy calcaire tannins, this finishes on the ever-present note of lavender, a twist of black pepper and a touch of salt. 90-92.