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Interview of Ms.Nadia and Mr.Cyril Bourgne – Owners – La Madura for AsiaImportNews – Exclusive
Could you please tell us the story of your winery, when it was created and how it developed decades after decades ?
Domaine LA MADURA is a small wine estate in the SAINT-CHINIAN appellation that has something of a patchwork quality due to the great diversity of its soils, grape varieties, altitude and micro climates. It is this diversity that is one of the estate’s great assets.
Nadia and Cyril BOURGNE were convinced of the high quality of the Domaine terroirs and left Bordeaux in 1999 to come and exploit their potential.
In 2015, a new page is turned with the construction of a building created by architects Passelac et Roques (http://www.passelac-roques-architectes.fr)
Cyril Following scientific studies (Degree in Biochemistry, Master’s in Genetics), he went on to do a postgraduate diploma in Oenology and Vine Studies (in Bordeaux) at the same time as a National Diploma in Oenology (in Dijon). This training gave him an introduction to the various methods used in vine-growing and wine-making. Every year while he was a student, he helped with the grape harvest and vinification at the Domaine du Nouveau Monde (his uncle’s estate), and it was here, out in the vines, that he began to develop a taste for the job.
Having completed his training, he chose to work in production and started in 1990 at Château Lynch-Bages (Médoc Grand Cru Classé in Pauillac).
In 1991, he became Technical Manager at Château de Fieuzal, then, later on, Estate Manager. His 8 years of responsibility gave him some very rewarding experience.
Cyril had long dreamed of becoming a wine-maker, but the dream needed time to mature and become a reality.
In November 1998 he finally made the leap and started out on his adventure, having found an estate that matched up to the ambitions of these new wine-makers.
From their first visit to the estate, they were won over by the quality and diversity of its ‘terroirs’, which had been maintained in the traditional way, leaving living soils and a sound biological balance.
Cyril’s wife, Nadia, who had had training and experience in the tourist sector, developed a taste for the profession and decided to go on further training courses which led to her being awarded “young farmer” status.
Since they bought the vineyards in 1998, she has been fully involved, taking on the administration and sales side, and also working with Cyril in the cellars and vineyards. One of Nadia’s jobs is to direct the picking team during the grape harvest.
What sort of wines are you producing ?
Classic rouge – Carignan and Grenache dominate this fresh and typical wine and it is a fine wine of gastronomy to associate with many dishes. Its evolution over time reveals all the olfactory richness of the scrubland surrounding the vines.
Grand Vin rouge – Richer than the classic, all remaining fresh, it can accompany more powerful and raised dishes. The game will not impress him, quite the contrary.
Classic blanc – Fresh and aerial with light aromas on a beautiful structure, this wine will ideally accompany grilled fish and crustaceans among others when it will not be drunk as an aperitif or with tapas.
Grand Vin blanc – This richer, concentrated white, with elegant and balanced aromas is a wine of gastronomy that will marry to many dishes due to its structure. The white meats, fish in sauce, cheeses or even foie gras as well as the Asian cuisine, will suit him particularly.
LM rouge – The quintessence of La Madura. It is vinified with the finest grapes of each plot, all grape varieties and terroirs combined. Only the perfect berries are preserved to be vinified in the half-muids (barrels of 500 l). This gives a wine of great finesse and complexity despite a high concentration. A wine of gastronomy by nature.
Along with the diversity of soils and microclimates, the many different grape varieties planted at La Madura mean that the wines produced for blending have a very wide range of aromas and flavours.
The landscape plays a crucial role. Altitude varies considerably from one plot to another (150 to 300 metres), which means that the harvest can be spread out; the grapes are picked at peak ripeness and in less of a hurry.
This variety is one of the estate’s key assets, producing a wide range of wines whose complementary qualities are used to make some very interesting blends.
The quality and variety of the soils found on the estate are a key asset, particularly as they have been well looked after in the past.
They were, and still are, cultivated in the traditional way (ploughing and addition of organic matter). This means that they still contain a great deal of life (plenty of micro-organisms and worms), which leads to good root growth, improved nutrient supply for the vine and therefore a superb expression of “terroir”.
How important are your export distribution compared to national distribution ?
We sell 40% of our production in France, 60% to different countries (Canada, Switerzland, Belgium, Japan, United States…).
What sort of distributors are your customers ?
They are distributors for wines shops, quality restaurants and private customers.
Why your wines are different from other wineries in your area ?
We do a lot of work in the vineyard to improve the quality of the grapes (not usual in the region and very expensive, see below). It also increase the expression of the terroirs and the influence on the wines aromas of the plants surrounding the plots of vines. The aim during the vinifications is to preserve this potential.
La Madura prefers to use a preventive approach, doing a lot of thinning work in spring and summer to improve the flow of air around the wine and the grapes: removing suckers from the center of the trunk, and thinning out the leaves. This sort of work is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it keeps the vines and grapes healthier and improves ripening.
Do you produce grapes in a organic or environmental friendly method, or with general methods ?
The vines are worked with a constant concern to care for and improve the environment by building in the various related parameters. This approach is “Haute Valeur Environnementale” certified (HVE = High Environmental Value).
The soils are maintained in the traditional way. The vines are ploughed to restrict weed growth, mainly in the spring to limit competition. This also aerates the soil to maintain good organic activity and keep the soil full of life. A bit of grass and weed is allowed to grow after the harvest and during the winter to help with this activity and improve drainage.
The soils are analysed regularly and maintained by adding organic matter where necessary.
The fight against diseases and insect pests is dictated purely by observation and weather information, which means that we can keep spraying to the strict minimum (usually 2 or 3 sessions). It also means that we use less fuel, thereby reducing our ‘carbon footprint’, and that the soil is less compacted.
Our choice of spraying products is also determined by our concern to maintain biological balance in the vineyards, their soil and their environment. We are therefore fighting disease in an environmentally-friendly way, without rigidity but with an intellectual rigour and honesty.
La Madura prefers to use a preventive approach, doing a lot of thinning work in spring and summer to improve the flow of air around the vine and the grapes: removing suckers from the centre of the trunk, and thinning out the leaves. This sort of work is time-consuming and labour-intensive, but it keeps the vines and grapes healthier and improves ripening.
Are your wines already distributed in Asia, and if not what are the countries you are looking for new distributors ?
We work with Terra Vert in Japan.
We have already sold to the Frangipani restaurant in KUALA LUMPUR, and in Taipei to L’atelier Robuchon restaurant.
We would like to increase our market in Asia to sell to qualities wines distributors.
Thank you Ms.Nadia and Mr.Cyril Bourgne – Owners – La Madura for your time and answers!
La Madura: www.lamadura.com
We can say without doubts that they have the best wines!