- Posted by Terroir Selections
- On September 12, 2011
- 0 Comments
François Mitjavile is one of the most respected winemakers in Saint Emilion. With his wife Emilie, he took over Tertre Roteboeuf from Mr Gilard, his father in law, in 1978. Tertre Roteboeuf is a 5.7 hectare vineyard on a slope that forms an amphitheatre. It is planted with Merlot (85%) and Cabernet Franc (15%). Soils are typical of the Eastern Côtes of Saint Emilion: several layers of very old dark clays in the subsoils, over limestone rocks. The soils are consequently very cold, and therefore harvest tends to be late. These soils produce wines of unique character and expression.
Saint Emillion, Bordeaux – France
The vineyard of Tertre Roteboeuf
The origins of the vineyard go back to Gallo-Roman times. It benefits from a rare and unique meso-climate, because of the ideal South-South East facing côteaux.
In François’ own words, “everything derives from grape maturity”. His opinion is that all great wines are made from grapes that have reached the fragile state of perfect ripeness, before they start to shrivel. To him, any hints of blue in the grapes before harvest means that maturity is not yet achieved. This is the only way to get tannins which are profound, but not too powerful. Harvest tends to be two weeks later than the other domaines around Saint Emilion.
The vineyard is spur pruned whereas the rest of Bordeaux is mainly cane pruned. Mitjavile favours this pruning method to ensure uniformity of ripening.
The wines are fermented in concrete tanks (20-30 days) before being pressed and racked to barrels (50-60% new). Barrel ageing includes a few soutirages (racking) to make sure that the wines remain in contact with oxygen to allow the evolution of flavours.