|The origins of the Château de Lucey date back to the Gallo-Roman era. The château was originally a fortress thanks to its superb location in the town of Lucey, overlooking the upper Rhône River in the northern part of the Savoie region. During the Middle Ages until after 1789, Château de Lucey was the seat of the local nobility, the De Mareste family, the Barons of Lucey. In the 16th century, Claude de Mareste cultivated Altesse vineyards on the estate’s ideal steep, limestone slopes known as Les Altesses. The Château remained largely intact after the French Revolution. It was eventually acquired and restored by the Defforey family in the early 20th century. In 1993, they replanted the historic vineyards of the Château with the native Altesse and Mondeuse varieties, thereby reviving the heritage of this unique, grand Savoyarde estate.|
Savoyard vigneron and winemaker Christophe Martin arrived at Château de Lucey in 2010. His first task was to reorganize the vineyards and winery so as to be able to work organically. His first fully organic vintage was the 2012 and Martin applied for organic certification the following year.
Today, the estate cultivates just over 5 hectares of vines, 95% of which are Altesse for the estate’s Roussette de Savoie. (There are also half-hectare parcels of Mondeuse and Pinot Noir.) The vineyards are on steep, south-west-facing slopes with clay-limestone scree soils mixed with crushed rocks. The altitude is 400 meters. The exceptionally warm micro-climate for the altitude is created by the upper Rhône River and the nearby Lac Bourget. The Altesse grapes are hand sorted in the vineyards by the harvesters. Martin’s minimalist approach applies to his vinification as well: natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, and the very minimum of So2 needed to stabilize the finished wine. The alcoholic fermentation phase lasts about 5 months at a controlled low temperature of 16C. The malolactic phase follows naturally as the last of the sugars are fermented. (The entire 2012 cuvée underwent malo, but that is not always the case ; it depends on the wine’s natural level of malic acidity in a given year.)
Farming practices: Martin intervenes as little as possible and aims to attain a natural equilibrium in the vineyards. He plows the soils where possible and plants grass between the rows in parcels that are too steep to plow. Organic fertilizer is applied only when necessary to restore the soil’s balance. Martin does meticulous vineyard work – debudding, vine-training for maximum aeration and exposure of the bunches, and leaf stripping - in order to use vastly less sulphur in his vine treatments to combat diseases than even the organic standards permit.
The 2016 vintage will be the first certified organic vintage at Château de Lucey.
|Chateau de Lucey Website|
|Roussette de Savoie|
The 2012 Roussette de Savoie was aged entirely in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks on its lees for 18 months, with no stirring. It was not fined and was lightly filtered through diatomaceous earth before bottling in April, 2014. 500 cases were made. Château de Lucey wines have never before been imported.
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