Guide to the Loire regions

Chinon

Grower Profiles

Pierre Sourdais

There is a plethora of growers with the title Sourdais in the village of Cravant; but if you can only commit the name of one to memory, it should be that of Pierre. He joined his parents, Marcel and Marie, in 1981 and today should be regarded as one of the most dynamic producers in the appellation. 

There are a total of 27 hectares distributed over a dozen parcels within the communes of Cravant and Panzoult: La Hardonnière, Le Grange Lambert, Doulai, Les Battereaux, La Sans Fin, and Le Noyer Ecorché (all of which are down on the plain), with additional parcels in Pallus, Les Pentes, Les Cornuelles, Le Sauleau, Les Boulais and Le Moulin à Tan (all on the coteau). Planted exclusively to Cabernet Franc, the vines range between five and over 70 years of age. Everything is harvested by hand and Pierre is well down the road to organic certification. 

The cellar is located between the centre of Cravant and the hamlet of Le Vieux Bourg which is situated in a pretty valley behind the village. It appears to be a huge operation, with a modern cellar and even a viewing tower which looks something of an expensive folly. It was erected in 1983, the same year that Pierre began a major excavation project below the existing premises to create  a series of grand galleries for the storage of his wines. Like Pierre himself, everything here appears a little larger than life. 

There are four red wines produced and a single rosé (part saignée and part pressurage direct) with fermentations conducted in a bank of cement and stainless steel tanks. The range starts with Les Rosiers which is drawn from 15 to 20 year old vines on the sand and gravel soils of the plain. Pierre prefers to ferment this in cement, where it also enjoys a brief élevage before being bottled in the spring. Tradition is sourced from a combined 15 hectares of vineyards on the three different elevations of Cravant from vines that average around 35 years of age. This is the most important wine in terms of volumes produced. The wine that has made Pierre's reputation, however, is Réserve Stanislas. Named after his great-grandfather (but also the name of his son), the first release was in 1985. The wine comes from 60 to 70 year old vineyards on what Pierre describes as the 'semi-coteau' of Cravant, and receives an élevage of between 10 and 18 months in barriques and 500 litre foudres. Finally, a cuvée produced from the four hectare lieu-dit of sixty year old vines from Les Boulais above Le Moulin à Tan has also been bottled separately since the 2005 vintage. The clay-limestone soils are flecked with cornuelles, pieces of hard, flat limestone, with resulting the wine raised in 450 litre casks. 

Pierre Sourdais is an enthusiastic vigneron with unbounded energy. The overall quality of his wines is very good, although one feels he is trying too hard to impress given the concentration (although not over-extraction) of the top-end wines. The oak on these cuvées can be a little to invasive, but they clean and well made. The basic wines too are a joy. He deserves to be considered one of the top dozen or so producers within the appellation. 

Pierre Sourdais
12 Le Moulin à Tan

CRAVANT-LES-CÔTEAUX
T: + 33 2 47 93 31 13
F: + 33 2 47 98 30 48
pierre.sourdais@wanadoo.fr
www.domaine-pierre-sourdais.com



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