Producer in Focus
La Grange Tiphaine, Loire, France
The Magic of Music
La Grange Tiphaine is a fully organic and biodynamic producer in the Touraine - the heart of the Loire Valley, France. Damien and Coralie Delecheneau met decades ago at viticulture school and have worked together since, eventually building one of the most impressive domaines in the region and roster of award-winning wines.
But in addition to their passion for wine, they also share a mutual love of music. In fact, music has become a connecting thread between the two of them and to their wines. Many of their cuvées are named after musical terms or works, bottle labels often feature musical elements and music emanates from nearly all the buildings on site on a daily basis.
Heart & Soul
The domaine’s ageing cellar, the heart and soul of the estate, actually doubles as a music performance space. The building is the oldest on the property, and while doing necessary renovations a few years ago, hidden vaulted ceilings were uncovered.
Damien and Coralie had dreamed of a special space for élevage where music could be played and enjoyed properly, so the newly-discovered fine acoustics of the ceiling created the perfect solution. They installed a wall of cork in the rear for temperature and sound isolation, and placed their menagerie of terracotta, wood, sandstone and concrete ageing vessels around the room.
Lastly, a piano was added, along with plenty of seating for performances. The space is now home to frequent concerts by local artists, as well as impromptu performances by Delecheneau family members, all of whom play instruments.View Wines
"Every corner of the room fills with music that soothes and energises both the audience and the sleeping wines."
The couple love to draw parallels between the lyrical world and the biodynamic wine world - from the repetition of their daily winemaking activities and the repetition in music to the inherent musicality of the sounds of winemaking.
In the months after harvest, while the juices are fermenting, the fermenting wines emit a rhythmic noise that winemakers refer to as "singing". Then there's the "glug-glug" of the barboteurs, the gas removing percolators placed upon ageing vessels to allow gas release during fermentation.
The list could go on and on...View Wines
The Story Behind The Label
As for the at the names of La Grange Tiphaine’s cuvées, the musical influence is clear and constant. A few examples are:
Clef de Sol - the treble clef, which marks the beginning of a piece. This was the first wine the domaine released. The clef also sets the tone for the work - the same way the terroir does for the wine. Coralie also makes another parallel between the contrast of the two colours of the musical staff (black and white) and the two colours of their wines (red and white).
Ad Libitum - means to play with free rhythm and expression. In music and winemaking, the interpretation of the individual brings the most enjoyable results. This wine celebrates that freedom - it is a rare combination of the three grapes of the region- Côt, Cabernet Franc and Gamay.
Quatre Mains - music done with four hands. This was the first wine the couple made together and is their shared vision for the purest expression of Sauvignon Blanc on their silex soils.
Bécarre - the natural sign, which signifies to return to origin. Coralie and Damien were unhappy with what Cabernet Franc from the area had become, and they wanted to in essence go back to the beginning and create a new expression of it.
Violetta - the Verdi opera which centres around the ‘fallen woman’ who earns redemption through sacrifice. The cuvée is a new perspective on Malbec - grapes from old vines are macerated in cement and then aged in amphora for three years. Coralie and Damien feel the repetitive nature of the music also mimics the constant small actions in winemaking. Lastly, the Côt (Malbec) has a hint of violet on the palate.
"Music seems magic to those who listen to it, but it represents an important and daily work for those who practice it. For wine, it's a little bit the same."
Images by Audrey Dubessay
Words by Allison Burton-Parker