Vineyards and terroirs
The family estate consists of 12 hectares of vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Located on three major terroirs belonging to Châteauneuf-du-Pape , the Clef de Saint Thomas estate is made up of various plots planted to the north of the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and also towards Courthézon. For those who are passionate about micro terroir and plot-based cuvées, you will be able to find our vines in various lieux-dits: Les Charbonnières, l’Etang – Les Grandes Serres – Lieu-dit Cansaud – Lieux-dits Barbe d’Asne et Bois de la Ville.
The estate has been certified with the “Haute Valeur Environnementale” (HVE level 3) environmental label for its wines.
“Haute Valeur Environnementale” (High Environmental Quality) / HVE level 3 certification
This system takes into account indicators relating to biodiversity, crop protection strategies, fertilisation and irrigation management.
The label was created specifically to promote and communicate products from farms that have committed themselves to the highest level of environmental certification and to pass this added value on to consumers.
The Clef de Saint Thomas estate is committed to a type of farming that seeks to reconcile high-quality production with environmental protection. This approach is based on obligations to deliver results measured by environmental performance indicators.
Climate & terroir
The terroir in Châteauneuf-du-Pape consists of rolled pebbles that are warmed by the sun during the day and give off heat at night. This phenomenon improves the ripeness and concentration of the grapes. This provides a unique typicity that contributes to the character of the wines and especially the cuvées of the domaine.
The Mistral wind also plays an essential role in the climate and makes the vineyards healthier, as it prevents the need for many treatments.
Pruning & vine care
The vines are gnarled and are usually goblet pruned.
With this traditional type of pruning, the vegetation forms a parasol that protects the grapes from sunburn.
For our Grenache noir grapes, we deploy goblet pruning using stakes. Each vine is trained to its own stake.
This allows us to achieve better ripening, complete all-round defoliation, aeration of the berries and therefore less disease (fewer wet areas).
This is carried out entirely manually.
The vines are short-pruned using the Cordon de Royat method for the Syrah and our white wines.
The bunches of grapes are spread out and take advantage of the aeration and sunshine.
This qualitative pruning limits the yields (- 30%) and the vigour of the vine. We harvest entirely by hand, as this method of pruning prevents us from machine picking!
The domaine features the 13 grape varieties that typify Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Our vineyard is characterised by a mosaic of traditional grape varieties. This varied and controlled grape variety imbues the Clef de Saint Thomas wines with their aromatic complexity, balance and power.
For the red wines: mostly Grenache complemented by Syrah, Mourvèdre and old Cinsaults.
For the white wines: Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Grenache blanc.
The harvesting in the domaine is carried out entirely manually.
The grapes are harvested in mid-September in crates and vinified in our cellars located on the estate in the heart of the village.
A strong qualitative and environmental vision
Christophe Barraud, with 5 years of experience at Château Calissanne, is now in charge of viticulture and vinification at Domaine Clef de Saint Thomas.
On this 12-hectare vineyard, he has embodied the slow wine ethos with its focus on quality!
This is reflected by the care he takes with the soils and berries that he has brought to life (HVE level 3 and +) and his conscious pursuit of high quality wines (as evidenced by the numerous awards in wine competitions).
Philosophy, vineyard management
Careful management of the vineyard is key to the estate’s success, as it is the only way to respect the terroir, the quality of the berries, the ecosystem and the environment.
Our winery has been certified with the “Haute Valeur Environnementale” (HVE level 3) environmental label and therefore complies with the requirements of the French Ministry of Agriculture.
Since 2019, we have even considerably exceeded this demanding standard and have completely dispensed with the use of herbicides.
We use mating disruption as a pest management technique across large parts of the vineyards to protect the grapes.
This involves planting dispensers in bushes or trees or directly in the plots.
This biotechnical method protects vines from insects by disrupting the sexual activity of grapevine pests by releasing female sex pheromones to confuse the insects. The amounts of pheromones released are greater than naturally emitted by female insects. As a result, the males are hardly able to find and mate with the females.
This method is effective against Eudemis and Cochylis and forms part of the integrated protection.
We reduce the use of further inputs (sulphur/copper) and also rely on biocontrol, a plant protection method based on the use of natural mechanisms and interactions between species that, combined with other means of plant protection (mating disruption), manages and controls pest populations rather than eradicating them.
More information: https: //agriculture.gouv.fr/quest-ce-que-le-biocontrole
LES LIEUX-DITS DE L’APPELLATION
3 TERROIRS AND 4 LIEUX-DITS
Il existe à Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 3 grands terroirs. Le vignoble du Domaine Clef de Saint Thomas s’étend sur différents lieux-dits et terroirs de l’AOC Châteauneuf- du-Pape
Clef de Saint Thomas – Red
This wine is a blend of two lieux-dits:
Les Grandes Serres lieu-dit (B)
Terroir: Miocene marine molasse covered by alpine diluvium (rolled pebbles).
Grape variety:In this terroir composed of rolled pebbles, we have a magnificent plot of old Grenache and Mourvèdre vines that we vinify together.
Lieu-dit Cansaud (C)
Terroir : Miocene*: Lower coarse sandstone – rolled pebbles.
Grape variety:A beautiful Syrah vineyard on pebbled soils which actively contributes to the quality of our Clef de St Thomas red.
*Tertiary: Miocene from 23.5 million years ago to 6 million years ago: transgression of the Mediterranean in the Rhodanian corridor. Miocene marine molasse covered by alpine diluvium = rolled pebbles.
Clef de Saint Thomas – White
This wine is a blend of 2 lieux-dits Les Charbonnières et Palintan dit « l’Etang » (A)
Terroir: Beautiful plots across 5 hectares.Clayey sand and saffron soils.
Grape variety: We grow our old white grape varieties Clairette and Roussanne.
Pierre Troupel – Red
This wine is a blend of two lieux-dits for a gourmet Châteauneuf-du-Pape:
Les Charbonnières and Palintan dit “l’Etang” lieux-dits(A)
Terroir: Beautiful plot with clayey sand and saffron soil. Miocene (upper coarse sandstone – red sandstone).
Grape variety: Grenache and Syrah.
Lieu-dit Cansaud (C)
Terroir : Rolled pebbles.
Grape variety: A beautiful Syrah vineyard on rolled pebble soil.
Pierre Troupel – White
This wine is made from the Les Charbonnières and Palintan dit “l’Etang” lieux-dits (A)
Terroir: Plots of vines with clayey sand and saffron soils.
Grape variety: Young Clairette, Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc.