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La Porte Saint-Jean | Sylvain Dittière & Pauline Foucault
'The goal is to translate the work done in the vineyard. We spend a lot of time, in my cellar, tasting from barrel to barrel, because I want to show how important the farming element is to it.'
After studying Enology, Sylvain interned with Gerard Gauby in Roussillon, Thierry Germain and Antoine Foucault in Saumur Champigny. When the opportunity arose in 2010, Sylvain decided to make wine in Montreuil-Bellay (where he is still based today) as he had the opportunity to buy some Cabernet Franc vineyards that were organically farmed and naturally produced low yields.
Today, he produces three reds, ‘La Porte Saint Jean’, as well as ‘Les Pouches’ and ‘Les Cormiers’. Aside of Cabernet Franc, Sylvain also works a few hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The two vineyards for the whites are ‘Le Saut Mignon’ and ‘La Perlée’ as well as a newly acquired plot of Chenin named ‘Les Pouches’ (labelled under Saumur Blanc).
His vineyards are planted on sand, silt, and clay, with a subsoil of limestone. At harvest, the red grapes are carefully sorted and then macerated in concrete tanks, whereas whites are directly pressed. All wines are subsequently aged in an ancient troglodyte cave, where the temperature does not fluctuate too much, and hence creates a perfect environment for long ageing on the lees. His (used) barrels originate from Haut Brion and Clos Rougeard, however Sylvain has also introduced some new oak from a well-known cooperage in Burgundy over the past years.
Since 2017, Sylvain began to really understand his vineyards and wines, to an extent not seen in the past. The wines are becoming increasingly approachable and require less and less bottle ageing before being accessible, which translates directly to his increased efforts in the vineyards and cellar management. A future classic in the making!