Château Corbiac Pécharmant: an exceptional continuity

The geology of a privileged soil

Issue of geological formations of tertiary and quaternary the family of soil known as “sand and clay of Périgord” characterises the hillside of Pécharmant

In geological terms this complex continental detritic formation, has more or less turned over and eroded the siderolitic deposits. To realise that the limestone which comes from the Eocene period took an important alteration by the formation of surface layers constituting superficial layers of limestone, clung together by the residue of decarbonisation of clay, but also silex enriched by the alluvial deposits, plus or minus iron baring soil imported from the Massif central, fluvial deposits where the presence is very heterogeneous.

Thus on the Pécharmant hills it produces striated clay mixed with debris of sandstone and silex with multicoloured clay chards, yellow; red and even blue at Corbiac. (estate delimited by the blue line). Often pepples rounded quartz mixed with clay. As well, these formations are covered with silt of a more recent origin in part Eocene.

Precisely at Corbiac at the top of the Pécharmant hill, this high terrace (ancient pleistocene) at altitudes of 110 to 130 meters is found on the surface is found larger pebbles of red ferous gravel mixed with the texture of lightly clay baring soil, resting upon an undersoil of brown and gray clay-sand named “tran”.

The Corbiac vineyard (delimited by the white lines) is planted in a washed hydromorphic soil rich in clay of smectite type, with properties that swell up in the presence of water. In periods of drought these clays shrink forming cracks of retreat in which the roots penetrate and find humidity at a depth of at least two meters under the surface in the “tran”.

Moreover it has been observed by the faculty of wine at Bordeaux university, that the grapes produced from these above soils present concentrations of anthocyanes and tannins superior to those of grapes produced on sandy gravel soils which constitutes the remains of the Pécharmant appellation.

A wine production to maturity: coctum et percoctum

Exceptionally under snow, but certainly planted on the hillock of Pécharmant and southerly exposed, the Corbiac vineyard is planted of merlot (60%), cabernet franc (15%), cabernet sauvignon (15%) and malbec (10%). The “fer” grape from ages past at the roots of Carmenets has left place for the most elaborated of its family; thus the malbec with its spicy taste represents its close cousin.

At Corbiac the domination by merlot gives the value of fruity taste and predominance of its type at the heart of the land at Pécharmant. To know that the excellent health of the grapes is served by natural aeration of the vines grown at the summit of the hillside and served by under cultivation in grass.

In other words it is of note that the land subject to botrytis which can be found in cabernets are less inclined to such attack, but for these the maturity is tardive and the tasteful astringents is recurrent. Indeed, the maturity of the grapes is an essential condition to obtain red wine of quality.

The Latin growers insisted already that the harvest took place late. The Latin growers insisted already that the harvest took place late. Caton the Elder, one and half century BC, in his thesis of De re rustica that “to produce good wine it is necessary to pick ripe (coctrum) and even confit (percoctum)“.

That is the principle by which we orientate our mode of winegrowing in order to conduct merlot, cabernets and malbec to their optimal maturity. The dates to which we pick up with our own harvesting machine may take place independently.

As of now the conditions of extractability are reunited by the traditional vinification with the phase of prefermentation extraction, phase of alcoholic fermentation accompanied by some délestages, phase of post fermentation of the fruit residue. Followed by a inert environment and assisted by temperature control by circulation of cold water and hot air, and this before ageing.

Farming by the owner

In 1968 and sixteenth degree of generations at Corbiac, succeeding his father, Bruno (†), having finished his studies in agronomy took over the whole of the estate.

Winegrowing and a sheep flock constituting the two main activities on the property. From 1981, departing from the cooperative model, a complete overhaul of the wine chai took place in order to sell directly from the property. Inox vats and oak barriques installed side by side in a modernised building in order to grow and create the different vintages produced by the vines on the property, from the 18 hectares of actual vines in conversion towards a density of 5.000 plants/ha, but conserving with attention the presence of the four traditional grapes as mentioned in the decree of 12 march 1946 from the INAO which recognises the AOC Pécharmant.

Thérèse, Bruno’s wife, participates more than ever in the entire running of the domain and in particular to the running of the sales receiving individual clients directly at the property or sale by direct transport to clients further a field and overseas.

More recently the transition to the following generation represented by their son Antoine, is taking place gradually with the objective of continuing to build up clients using modern ways, while keeping up the quality of the wine which has been constructed over the centuries.

Exceeding our customer expectations

17th in line, Antoine, graduated in economic sciences and post graduated in economic intelligence, has worked for several years overseas in distribution of wines and spirits and then in new technologies. At present he is mixing his professional project around the development of the family wine business, and an audacious commercial desintermediation in order to exceed customers expectations.

Already in 1997 he created one of the first web sites dedicated to wine, in order to assure at Château Corbiac as wide an audience as possible indispensable in the 21st century and he actualises information with an e-commerce solution for mail ordering to private customers.

His challenge, therefore, is to mix the quality and know-how attached to the land and a reasonable way of producing by traditional winemaking with a dynamic applied to surpass the expectations of his clients.

So the Château Corbiac whilst remaining attractive and accessible, inscribes as an inevitable expression of excellence in Pécharmant.