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.
The specificity of the terroir of the Chateau des Bormettes comes from its privileged geographical situation. Set at proximity from the Mediterranean Sea and on its hillsides, avoiding the lower lands extending to the beaches, which are devoted to market gardening, this unique terroir of the Var is characterized by its 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 La 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
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 debudding 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 mating disruption method. 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 reaped: sometimes to optimize a red potential, often to relieve a young vine too voluminous to get through the summer!