Saint-Véran “Maison Rouge”
Lucien Thomas’s Saint-Véran Maison Rouge is made from a block of Chardonnay vines that are 80 years old, superbly located at the top of the southeast facing amphitheater-contoured vineyard. The name of the lieu dit comes from the house of the lord of the village of Prissé in the 17th century, which was built with red stones. The site is presently under consideration by the INAO for future classification as Saint-Véran 1er Cru.
Thomas vinifies these grapes separately because they are always riper and more concentrated. The soil is Jurassic limestone-clay with stones, that allows for good drainage. The Chardonnay vines are pruned by the single-Guyot method with only 8 buds. The soil is plowed and fertilized with organic material when needed. At harvest, the grapes are hand-picked and sorted before being quickly pressed and the must clarified (débourbage). Thomas selects the best press-juice for fermentation with native yeasts. 20% of the volume is fermented in neutral 500 litre barrels and the balance in small, 4000 litre tanks. The lees are stirred only twice to enhance complexity and preserve freshness. Thomas assembled the parts in August 2021 and bottled the 2020 Saint-Véran Maison Rouge on September 4th, after fining with bentonite clay and a light filtration.
About the Producer
The domaine, created in 1934, now extends over 20 hectares on southwest-facing slopes, mostly in the Saint-Véran appellation town of Prissé. The Thomas family has been estate-bottling the majority of their production since 1987, specializing in Saint-Véran. Owner and winemaker Lucien Thomas seeks the fullest, pure and focused expression of fruit and terroir. His wines have been regularly acclaimed by the critics for their focus, purity and intensity. As early as 2004, The Wine Spectator did a full page feature profile on Lucien Thomas, applauding his exceptional technique and the elegant and pure style of his wines.
Thomas produces his Saint-Véran wines from 16 hectares of old Chardonnay vines planted on a remarkable, single-block, south-west facing amphitheater vineyard. This privileged, very sunny and heat-retaining location allows the grapes to attain perfect ripeness and concentrated flavors. The ideal soil is a stony, fast-draining mix of limestone and clay. Thomas plows his vineyards, prunes severely (vines are trained in the Guyot simple way) and uses organic fertilizer only if needed. He further controls yields by cluster-thinning and green harvesting. He harvests by hand and the grapes enter the winery by gravity. After a gentle pneumatic pressing, the juice is allowed to clarify in tank at low temperature to become as clear as possible before the start of the alcoholic fermentation with the native yeasts.
Video: take a tour with Lucien Thomas!