Christine and Stephane Derenoncourt - L'Etincelle
It should come as no surprise that Christine and Stephane Derenoncourt's dream has always been to purchase a vineyard of their own to pursue their winemaking philosophy to the fullest. In 1999, the dream became reality with their purchase of the 10-acre Sainte Colombe vineyard just east of St. Emilion in Cotes de Castillon. The estate has become something of a lab so they can experiment and learn techniques to ultimately repeat success for their 75+ clients, 60% of which are located in Bordeaux. Their present holdings are 20 acres planted to 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon with an average vine age of 35 years old. Vine density is 2,400 vines per acre, grown in clay-based soils rich in limestone, providing the perfect terroir for opulent Merlot-based wines.
Every element of work in the vineyard is done by hand, whether it is pruning, trellising, canopy management, or green harvesting. The harvest typically starts around the last week of September or the first week of October. All grapes are picked based on tasting of the fruit and overall ripeness with thought given to the age of the vines and the varietal breakdown. Some vineyard blocks require three separate passes before they are completely harvested.
Once the fruit is brought in, the grapes are double sorted, destemmed and transported to wooden tanks for fermentation. After alcoholic fermentation and maceration is completed, the juice is drained and barreled. Malolactic fermentation is then allowed to occur naturally in the spring or possibly as late as next summer. After secondary fermentation, the wine is racked once and aged 15 months on the lees. The wine receives a light filtering prior to bottling.
The 2006 L'Etincelle is the fantastic result of our prosperous relationship with both Christine and Stephane. After working closely with Montesquieu for the past three years, the couple has come to understand the quality of wine that our clients expect us to source for them. We have seen first hand their unbridled passion for making great wine and have always looked forward to the chance to source a wine from their Cotes de Castillon property.
The 2006 vintage is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc with a dense purple color that breaks to ruby at the rim. The wine's bouquet expresses cherry skins, truffle, and mocha with an ever present floral element of lilac and violet. Rich flavors of blackberry and currant are followed by hints of smoke, dried herbs, and leather. The powerful tannin evolves beautifully in the finish to reveal notes of white pepper, pipe tobacco, and a subtle touch of minerals. The next few years will resolve the wine's youthful vigor and allow for greater complexity, giving you a perfect introduction to the Cotes de Castillon and a heartfelt expression of Christine and Stephane's skill.