A UNIQUE WINE-GROWING TERROIR IN THE VAR

The Domaine was certainly used to cultivate vines since the Gallo-Roman era, but it was the monks of the Chartreuse de La Verne who developed its specificity from the 16th century onwards, thus taking advantage of a unique terroir intended for wine-growing.

Mediterranean Sea, but set back from it and on hillsides, thus opposing the lower lands, extending the beaches, which are devoted to market gardening. But what characterizes the unique terroir of the Var is the very stony soils, essentially composed of more or less degraded schists and numerous and almost indestructible quartz. These particularly draining soils, but also poor in organic matter, are naturally suitable for wine growing.
Today, the terroir of La Londe des Maures is recognized within the Côtes de Provence appellation for its soils, with crystalline Provence standing out from limestone Provence (here reigns the maquis and not the scrubland). But the singularity of this terroir is also due to its dryer and temperate climate, subject to the influence of the Mediterranean Sea and the draughts circulating in the Londe.
Within this exceptional terroir, there are 3 areas of cultivation: the first is located on the shores of the Mediterranean, the second is on the hillsides facing due south of the Massif des Maures, and the third intermediate which characterizes the Château des Bormettes.

Diversified grape varieties for Château des Bormettes

The estate has undergone several phases of evolution concerning its grape varieties, with a revival since the 1980s. Château des Bormettes favors Cinsault first and foremost: productive even in a dry situation, this grape variety has not only enabled the farm to survive, but is also very well adapted to the local terroir and the production of pale and fine rosés that make the region’s success. From the early 2000s, the priority grape variety became Grenache. Aromatic, it corresponds to the new trends in rosé wines. Deep, suitable for working also in red, it is in phase with the character of our terroir and the ambition of Château des Bormettes. The new stage in the Domaine’s vines also corresponds to the rise of Rolle – or Vermentino – a white grape variety that is perfect for our soils, where it regains the aromatic power we know in Corsica, while keeping a lot of freshness.
This grape variety can produce exceptional whites as well as bring an exotic touch to a rosé blend. In parallel with these major trends, the desire has always been to preserve a significant diversity of grape varieties, with the rather distinctive presence of Syrah in particular, which gives relief to our rosé blends, and can be spectacular in red. In this spirit, Château des Bormettes intends to reintroduce Carignan, a red grape variety adapted to our terroir, and Château des Bormettes will plant Caladoc and Colombard, grape varieties that produce powerful red wines, but whose young plantations will bring a spicy touch and citrus nuances to our rosés.

Château des Bormettes has chosen a reasoned cultivation of its terroir

The low water reserve of Provence’s soils, and the long periods of drought that increasingly characterize its climate, have led many estates to set up irrigation for their vines.

At Château des Bormettes, we made a different choice, with a long-term vision. Throughout the restructuring of the vineyard, which began in the early 1990s and is scheduled to continue until 2025, each parcel of land that is uprooted is subject to patient tillage before replanting, to a minimum depth of one meter, sometimes much more. The objective is to ensure that the rare but very intense rains on our terroir can be filtered to a greater depth, and that the roots of the vines can be immersed in it to feed themselves.

A long-term task, which also makes it possible to obtain more reasonable slopes, to resize the streams, in order to limit erosion and avoid the destruction associated with the violent stormy episodes that periodically devastate certain sectors of Provence.

In addition, during the rest periods of our vines, we plant barley seedlings at the foot of the grape varieties. Acting as a green manure, this barley is also very appreciated by the sheep we welcome at Château des Bormettes, whose manure will then be spread on the soil, completing the rest of the barley buried by shallow tillage.

The pruning of the vines, a specific know-how

Whether it is vines for rosé, white or red wines, pruning is done by hand by the Château des Bormettes teams. Here only “cordon de royat” pruning is used, which guarantees a moderate yield but a good distribution of bunches on the vines. It also allows the mechanization of part of the vineyard’s harvest, which can thus be done at night, an essential method for the production of quality rosés. Then comes the disbudding season, where seasonal workers come to reinforce our teams to reduce the load, aerate the area bunches and clean the vines.

In the meantime, the diffusers have been installed: as part of the fight against pests, Château des Bormettes has opted for the method of sexual confusion. It is a process that misleads the butterflies responsible for the worms in the bunch, sparing us the use of insecticides, always in a sustainable agriculture approach on our land. The trimming and decimation are moderate: in the absence of irrigation, the vines must be able to feed on the strong dews generated by the air of the Mediterranean Sea, and the shade of the foliage must prevent the grapes from roasting and losing all their acidity.

Generally speaking, the treatments are reasoned, adapted to the vintage, with a concern to optimize interventions and reduce the use of traditional phyto sanitary products to guarantee quality and authenticity. Exceptionally, some parcels of the Château des Bormettes vineyard can be scattered: sometimes to optimize a red potential, often to relieve a young vine too busy to spend the summer!

Comments are closed.