Domaine de Pallus

AOC Chinon

Bertrand Sourdais
Bertrand Sourdais

We first came across the French winemaker Bertrand Sourdais almost a decade ago in Spain, where, as a young man in his first full-time position, he was building a reputation for unique cuvées parcellaires at Dominio de Atauta in Ribera del Duero. (See Antídoto.)

Bertrand is fifth-generation winemaking stock from Chinon and he studied oenology in Bordeaux where he developed a fascination for blending, although not necessarily just with grape varieties.  After gaining top level experience at Mouton-Rothschild, Santa Rita and with Alvaro Palacios, he landed that first post at Atauta where he stayed until 2010.

In 2003 also Bertrand took up the reins at the family estate back in the Loire, Domaine de Pallus, with 18ha of Cabernet Franc in the commune of Cravant-les-Côteaux.  Since leaving Atauta in 2010 he has launched a new Ribera winery Bodegas Antídoto, in the same tiny village as Atauta.  On both sides of the Pyrenees he works with single varietals and seeks to discover the perfect expression of each, either through parcel selections or through blending his various terroirs.

Domaine de Pallus enjoys an exceptional vineyard site, with 12ha around the winery on the limestone slopes and six on the sand and gravel mix of the plain.  The plan is ambitious, to make a Grand Vin that truly expresses the full potential of not only the Cabernet Franc grape, which Bertrand believes has the potential to rival its more widely-planted cousin, but also the personality of the Chinon terroir.  The challenge is to overcome the flaws that persist in the traditional methods used here for centuries, while avoiding the pitfalls that hamper modernists trying to progress the appellation.

The work begins as ever in the vines, where the estate has been entirely reassessed and biodynamic principles are adhered to, then on to the winery where maceration and ageing in used barrels has been extended, manipulation reduced to a minimum, and everything lengthened out and softened to capture the character of Chinon.

Messanges Rouge is a charming and seductive fruity style of wine from the sandy lower parcels, introduced in 2013.  Les Pensées de Pallus, a blend of terroirs, was launched with the 2004 vintage and has grown in stature with each new edition, full, chewy and supple with little bitter touches on the finish and notes of gentle oak.  Le Grand Vin de Pallus is produced only in the best vintages, from two of the finest steep vineyard parcels lying on a clay-sand topsoil over deep limestone and tuffeau, planted in 1952 and 1974 respectively.  Vinified separately in small open wooden vats with extended maceration and two years’ ageing in used Burgundy barrels, this cuvée is bottled unfined and unfiltered, and aims to achieve the greatest expression of Cabernet Franc in the region.

What the press are saying about Domaine de Pallus

Nous plaçons beaucoup d’espoir dans ce vin ambitieux, très soigné, structuré et plein de chair, aux tanins fondus et au boisé profond et épicé, assez hédoniste.

Grand Vin de Pallus 2011, 16.5/20, Revue du vin de France 10/2014

La qualité des élevages a beaucoup progressé, le boisé discret encadre le vin et préserve un fruit superbe.  Très élégant, ciselé et précis.

Grand Vin de Pallus 2013, 17/20, Revue du vin de France 11/2013

The 2010 Pensées de Pallus is a dynamite Chinon, …that is relatively light on its feet and utterly classic in its aromatic and flavour profile.  A superb bottle that is approachable today, [it] will age beautifully and will be even better with a couple of years’ worth of bottle age and age for a couple of decades.  91/100

John Gilman, View from the Cellar, 07/2013

The 2010 [Grand Vin de Pallus] is a stunning young bottle of Chinon, jumping from the glass in a youthfully complex and serious nose of black cherries, cassis, espresso… A superb wine. 94/100.

John Gilman, View from the Cellar, 07/2013


Messanges Rouge, Dom de Pallus, Chinon, 2016iconePdf
Les Pensées, Dom de Pallus, Chinon, 2014iconePdf
Grand Vin, Dom de Pallus, Chinon, 2013iconePdf