To say that a lot of thought goes into the wines produced by Xavier and Muriel Caillard would be a dramatic understatement. It’s not just that the vines themselves receive a large amount of care and attention (although they do), but also what happens after harvesting in the cellar. In fact, their wines often stay down there for between seven and ten years – for example, they began production in 1999, but it was 2007 before their first wine was released.
Xavier studied biology, with an option on viticulture. He certainly understand his vines. Not only are they looked after without any form of chemical additive, but even machinery is shunned in the pursuit of truly natural growth. He believes that using a machine distances himself from the vine, something that can be sensed by the plant. Instead, the vines are left largely to grow in their own way, with only minimal intervention used to cut the vines by hand if absolutely necessary. The leaves are often gently rearranged to ensure that enough light lands on the grapes, which the growers see as a vital part of the process. You don’t get that with industrial winemaking!
The cellar was built in the 1100s, and it is where the real patience is required. The estate’s philosophy of allowing nature to take its course applies to the long élevage process as well, so Xavier and Muriel are happy to wait until the wine is exactly at the right stage of its development, however long that may take.
You can’t get much further away from mass produced wine than this.