In 1957, after the heavy frost of the 1956 vintage, a father bought 3 wine estate for his 3 childrens. 2 in Saint Emilion, 1 in Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux (with 2.5 acres of vineyard in Saint Emilion). Out of the 3 siblings, only Jean Blanc committed himself fully to the production of and is only one who bottled his wines. He release his first bottle with the vintage 1970 at a time where the vast majority of producers sold their production to negoces in “vrac” (wine sold in container without bottling).
His son, Christophe, started 25 ago servicing the Chateau of the Saint Emilion area. He provided earth filtration (Diatomaceous earth that collect the crystal and other impurities to clarify the wine) for the wineries before they would bottle their wine. For Christophe, this time was precious to him to learn from all his clients their farming and vinification techniques. He ran his company for 12 years until he felt ready to start working full time with his father.
Christophe is a perfectionist who always strives for improvements. He is passionate about his terroirs: for him, they are the foundation of his wines. He wants each terroir to give their best even when blended. With his 20 hectares estate, he has access to 3 types of rich terroirs ideal for the vines: 40% Clay and limestone, 30% % silty sandy clay and 30% rich sand (unlike river bank, these are saturated with mineral nutriments). This exposition to the clay always to give even higher quality and aging potential on good vintage. The grape varietal planted represent perfectly the right bank: 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc.
His farming technique would allow him to apply for an organic certification, but he doesn’t want to be limited. He alternates every year plowing one row out of two. The vines are stressed and grows their root deeper. He applies a rigorous selection on the yield to keep only the best. He doesn’t take any short cut when it comes to quality: rigorous pruning and green harvest in September to keep only the best clusters, multiple samples send to lab to see and anticipate any issue. The harvest are done both by hand and mechanical.
His perfectionism applies even more at the vinification. Christophe would not produce byproducts. He produces only 2 reds : one for each village (Saint Emilion and Castilon-Côtes-de-Bordeaux). No rosé, no white. He searches for both high concentration and expression of each terroirs: the small yield is the first step, then each parcel’s juice is separated by grape varietal and terroirs by terroir: “Merlot –Clay Limestone”, “Cabernet Franc – Silty Clay”, “Merlot- Silty clay” and so on. Each parcel matures at its own pace. The fermentation are individual and Christophe favored natural fermentation. In some tank where the fermentation is not starting, he will add a minimal dosage of yeast far inferior to minimum requirements. After the 5 days of alcoholic fermentation, Christophe aim to push them the furthest he can. On an average vintage, they will last 3 weeks but he can bring them up to 6 weeks on great vintage. This is all for the sake of making age worthy yet ready to drink wine. After the Malo lactic are done, the parcels from the Saint Emilion village will be put in oak barrel for a time period dictated by the quality of the vintage: It can go from 12 to 24 month. The parcels of the Castillon will age patiently in stainless steel containers until fully mature. For both of the village parcels, Christophe applies a lot of bleeding to concentrate even more. Each of them results in a wine that is sold to the negoce so only the best is kept for his bottles. The last stage, Christophe blend his parcels after running many test, like an artisanal parfum maker. When he chooses the sample that he likes best, he will wait almost right before the bottling to blend massively the chosen parcels. The others will be sold to the Negoce. For Christophe, quality will always prevail over quantity, nothing more, and nothing less.