How Do You Build Bordeaux’s Greenest Cellar? Château Cantenac-Brown Tries a New Old Technique

When Tristan Le Lous and his brothers Briac and Guirec bought Bordeaux third-growth Château Cantenac-Brown in Margaux this earlier December, they fulfilled a very long-cherished desire to individual a top rated wine estate. They’d developed up in Burgundy, their grandfather’s cellar generously stocked. “We have normally been passionate about wine in my spouse and children,” mentioned Tristan Le Lous.

They are also passionate about sustainability, terroir and getting portion of a greener long run. So when they created ideas for a new cellar they determined to blend an environmental technique with modernity and structure. “I have been intrigued in ecologically accountable properties and architecture for a very long time,” mentioned Le Lous, 40, a father of two who retains levels in molecular genetics, agronomy and business enterprise.

His quest led him straight to French architect Philippe Madec, a winner of eco-welcoming creating who was created an Officer of the Legion of Honor for his operate in sustainability. Madec, who co-authored “Manifesto for a Joyful Frugality,” encourages combining sustainability with structure to mirror an evolving plan of what is contemporary and stunning. “The new technology understands this,” Madec explained to Wine Spectator. “We have to visualize there will be a new aesthetic.”

Madec answered the Cantenac-Brown team’s obstacle to develop eco-friendly with a one of a kind structure for a contemporary, carbon-neutral winemaking facility, its vault created with uncooked earth, an historical strategy of packed filth, and compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB) able of supporting a roof. It is thought to be the only load-bearing venture of this variety in the globe, placing it at the vanguard of eco-friendly creating possibilities.

“We are executing one thing that is definitely exceptional,” mentioned Madec, who has advocated for sustainable architecture considering that the 1980s. This venture, he mentioned, arrived down to 3 crucial details. “For the creating, we are not utilizing cement. We are heading to develop a vault with CSEB. And we are utilizing the temperature of the floor to awesome the cellar.”

Tristan Le Lous, still left, and Jos&#xE9 Sanfins sit atop a sample of uncooked earth wall they are going to be utilizing to develop their new vineyard cellar at Cantenac-Brown. (Photograph by Cristina Dogliani)

The alternative of elements is integral to the all round environmental footprint of the develop. “I only use earth, wooden and stone,” mentioned Madec. “It really is a very long discussion, but bolstered concrete is a single of the worst elements on earth and a single of the good reasons for local weather problem. Air vacation contributes two p.c of greenhouse gases and the manufacturing of bolstered concrete contributes seven to nine p.c.”

The proportions of the develop merged with the wants for generating fantastic wine also motivated the alternative in elements, these types of as the want to preserve the cellar awesome. “Philippe proposed terra cotta bricks at very first, but the thermal inertia was not as excellent as the uncooked earth development,” mentioned Le Lous. If they’d picked out the terra cotta, they would have experienced to cut down the place by reducing the ceiling or use air-conditioning to sustain the ideal temperature for wine.

An critical component in calculating for temperature management within the cellar was the use of a climatic nicely, a geothermal air-to-floor warmth exchanger. “Under the surface area, close to [13 feet] in depth, the temperature is continuous, and it is [55° to 57° F]&#x2014ideal for wine. So we acquire the air cooled by the floor, and when it enters the vineyard, it has the excellent temperature,” discussed Madec. “Since the vineyard is created with earth, there is excellent inertia and the temperature will be stabilized.”

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They have also picked out to combine the new cellar inside an present creating, a selection that drastically lowers the affect of the develop on the earth. “Forty p.c of emissions in the globe occur from development,” mentioned Madec. “And 60 p.c of the rubbish is from development&#x2014which is why we are utilizing the present properties. We will maintain the character of the estate, and there will be no reconstruction, no throwing absent.”

The present partitions will be insulated utilizing natural straw and CSEB. The wooden employed will be untreated and sourced domestically in the area. The roof will include rain drinking water catchment, and grey drinking water will be recycled. Photo voltaic panels will make the vineyard power-constructive.

“We have paid out the optimum regard to the setting, utilizing the most sophisticated tactics at the minute, in phrases of sustainable structure, in purchase to maintain the terroir when continuing to adapt and press ahead agricultural strategies,” mentioned Jos&#xE9 Sanfins, longtime common supervisor and winemaker.

Cellar Design Sketch

A sketch of Cantenac-Brown displays the prepared new cellars in brown, permitting them to include present chai properties. (Courtesy Atelier Madec)

Inside of the cellar, Sanfins will have all the standard bells and whistles&#x2014gravity-movement vinification and a tiny military of vats matched to plot dimensions for precision mixing. They prepare to split floor in April and complete in time for the 2023 harvest. Le Lous estimates the original price to be 10 p.c extra costly than a classic concrete develop, but they are going to preserve funds down the street as they will never want air-conditioning.

Le Lous and Sanfins explained to&#xA0Wine Spectator that the cellar venture is portion of their all round eyesight for the 220-acre estate, a eco-friendly ethos that embraces the vineyards, the new cellar, and the estate’s historic biodiversity. When Scotsman John Lewis Brown developed the estate in 1806, he planted an arboretum. Now the forest addresses 70 acres.

“We want to sustain and create the assortment of trees and build once again the backyard garden as it was prepared originally,” mentioned Le Lous. “Our sequoia is 200 decades previous and [131 feet tall].”

And in a wink to Lewis Brown, they have imported 30 Scottish sheep to sustain the park, eschewing garden mowers. “Of class we have taken safety measures to make guaranteed the sheep do not consume the vines,” mentioned Le Lous.

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