After having graduated as Agricultural engineer specialized in viticulture and oenology, I immediately started working for my family Bordeaux estates.
I was in charge of Château Cos d'Estournel in Saint-Estèphe during 30 vintages until the estate was sold after the 1998 vintage.
Not only have I acquired technical skills but more importantly a personal approach to terroir.
It is this approach that I am trying to apply to the four wine ventures I am now engaged in.
I am promoting these four brands through "Fidelis Wines" (as a tribute to Louis d'Estournel's motto: Semper Fidelis "always faithful").
My first belief is that there is no great wine without a great terroir: where the soil and microclimate bring to the wine a complexity that transcends the characters of the varietal. That is why I searched among the good terroirs that were still under-exploited with the ambition to reveal their true potential.
Second belief: great terroirs are scarce. They can only be found in relatively marginal locations compared to the most favorable conditions for vine-growing.
In Portugal, the great terroir of the Douro Valley has for centuries produced great Ports. The capacity of the schisteous soil to retain water compensates the incredible aridity of Portuguese summers.
CHRYSEIA is the proof that this terroir is also capable of producing great non fortified wines.
In Chile, the cold nights at the footsteps of the Cordillera bring finesse and original aromatic freshness to our Cabernet used for LAZULI.
Down south, we have discovered a volcanic terroir which reveals an impressive minerality in our SOLdeSOL Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In Stellenbosch, the poor soil of the ANWILKA vineyard combined with the maritime influence of the sea breezes give Cabernet and Syrah elegance and round tannins not commonly found in South Africa., while the famous and historical terroir of Klein Constantia, high in altitude with its northern exposure, suits perfectly the production of the outstanding sweet wine of Vin de Constance.
The clay and limestone soils of Alicante, rich in rocks, together with the high summer temperatures enable the perfect maturation of the Monastrell grape-variety. Its aromatic complexity and ageing potential are expressed at their best in ALFYNAL. Combined with other grape-varieties in MOSYCA, the Monastrell shows a modern and elegant aspect of its nature.
Third belief: terroir can be fully expressed only when the grapes are picked at perfect maturity.
Therefore all aspects of vineyard management are crucial: canopy management, yield, maturity control plot by plot and date of harvest.
These beliefs have made me a strong advocate of non-interventionist winemaking. I distrust winemaking tricks that intend to put in the wine something that didn't exist in the grapes.
I dislike over-extraction and over-oaking. Instead I strive for finesse and balance. I like wines that are heartfelt, that seduce you rather than wines that are made to impress.
For me, team work is also important: questioning my own views and exchanging ideas with my partners. All the wines for Fidelis Wines are partnerships with wine personalities who are also my friends.
Paul Pontallier from Château Margaux, Ghislain de Montgolfier from the Bollinger family and Felipe de Solminihac, Chilean oenologist (who discovered the terroir of SOLdeSOL) make up the team for VINA AQUITANIA in Chile.
PRATS&SYMINGTON is a joint-project with the Symington family, the great Port's producer, whose extensive knowledge of the Douro terroir has no equal.
The wines from ANWILKA Vineyards benefit from the expertise of Hubert de Bouärd, owner of Château Angélus. The merger of ANWILKA Vineyards and Klein Constantia in 2012, brings this project to a whole new level.
Iberica Bruno Prats is a partnership with young Bordeaux oenologist Stéphane Point who was in charge of Chryseia until 2008 and who now runs my last wine venture in Spain.
All these wines from very different origins have one thing in common: this search for elegance from my bordelais heritage to which I try to be "always faithful".