Drawing from a wealth of knowledge and know-how passed on from previous generations, the family and their team’s respect for the terroir, as well as their desire to produce wines that are a faithful expression of the land, never cease to grow and evolve.
All of the estate’s vineyards are farmed organically.
At the end of winter, after pruning the vines, the parcels are plowed to eliminate weeds. The canes are mulched, mixed with cut grass and buried in the ground to furnish organic matter to nourish the vines. This work encourages the vines to put down deep roots and tap into the groundwater to make up for lack of rainfall. To carry out this work on the steep slopes in our vineyards in Cassis and Bandol, we use small tractors that require precision and dexterity.
All other viticultural interventions are performed by hand. Short pruning in wintertime, combined with desuckering (removing the unproductive vine shoots) allows us to limit fruit development in favor of quality, thereby producing a superior wine.
As the plants grow and develop, the parcels are checked regularly to monitor the health of the vines and head off potential risks.
At the Domaine du Paternel, harvesting takes place from late August to the end of September. This is the time it takes to pick all the grape varieties grown on our estate at peak maturity.
All of our grapes are picked by hand. The Grenache varietal is an early bloomer and harvest begins with these grapes. Then, it’s time for the Marsanne grapes, and after those, the Sauvignon Blanc and Ugni Blanc follow... The varietals used to produce red wines—particularly the Mourvèdre, which is a late bloomer—are harvested at the end of the season. Harvesting is done only in the morning, allowing the grape’s full aromatic potential to be preserved until they are brought into the winery.
The clusters are destemmed, with only the berries sent to the two pneumatic presses to undergo gentle pressing. Then, each varietal is vinified separately in thermo-regulated vats at a constant temperature of 16°C. This level of control preserves the white and rosé juices that are quite fragile during this step.
Fermentation takes around a month. Every morning, samples are tasted from each vat to closely monitor the wines’ evolution. After this step, a slow fining is performed, and through this process the wines develop more structure and aromatic complexity. After the first winter months, they are blended to create the various cuvées.
The reds are vinified and matured in our Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer cellar.
Before pressing, the red grapes (Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan and Syrah) are vinified in wooden tuns for two weeks. They are then aged in small and large barrels, where they continue the aging process for at least 18 months, and over which time they refine. During fermentation, rotator barrels are used; as they turn, their small paddles break up the marc to disperse it into the juices. This is a unique, one-of-a-kind process used exclusively by the estate at Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer.