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Clos Saint Jean

A unique experience...

Clos Saint Jean is a unique experience from the Jouffreau family, winemakers since 1610, whose goal is to rediscover the expression of a once-forgotten vineyard.

Loyal to their philosophy of producing authentic, age-worthy wines, the Jouffreau family chose to wait more than ten years before releasing the wines from Clos Saint Jean’s quality-rich terroir.

The Jouffreau family is not trying to duplicate the wines of their principle domaine, Clos de Gamot, but rather expose the superb characteristics of this terroir with their extensive wine-making know how.

History

The Clos Saint Jean vineyard is situated on a small mountain face near the village Sals located between Castelfranc and Labastide du Vert. Total area under vine is 25 acres.

Over the course several centuries past winemakers used the stones in the vineyard build walls, that remain standing, around the vineyard’s perimeter.

Small stone huts, called « gariottes », were also erected to give the laborers temporary cover while working in the vines. Viticultural life was extrememly intense.

These past winemakers were responsible for constructing the landscape of the Quercy region. Wines from the « Pech de Sals » were particularly valued and known across Europe during the 17th century.

Today, junipers, stone walls and « gariottes » still dominate the landscape.

The plantation

This project started in 1993. Our first step in replanting the Clos Saint Jean vineyard was to remove several junipers along with any other brush. Next, we aerated the entire area to clean the rejuvinate the soil.

We chose not to till the soil to avoid raising any of the subterranean rocks, because it would have compromised the constitution of the clay/limestone soil.

We could conserve the small water reservoirs that had been created over the past centuries so recuperate rain water. The vineyard has a double exposition of South-South West.

For one portion of the vineyard, we adopted a terrace style plantation. We spaced each vine one meter apart and spaced each row one meter apart. (Much like you’d find in Banyuls) This means we end up with 10,000 vines per hectare.

The other portion of the vineyard was planted with the vines a bit closer (0.74m apart) but with more room between rows (1.68m), which allows for 8,000 vines per hectare.

Each stake took fifteen minutes to plant with the use of only a pickaxe.

Once the vine was planted, each stake was reinforced. Four different rootstocks were used to adapt to the various soil types and expositions we have to work with:

  • Lower quarter of the vineyard: 3309, a quality rootstock
  • Second qtr: ‘Fercal’ rootstock, resistant to limestone and slightly resistant to drought
  • Third qtr : 41 B rootstock, resistant to limestone and very well adapted to drought conditions
  • Fourth qtr (highest elevation in vineyard) : 110 ‘Richter’ rootstock, primarily adapted to support drought conditions.

We planted three generations of Malbec and its close, local relative Auxerrois (all from our Clos de Gamot vineyards) to all four rootstocks:

  • The first generation, ‘the original’ Auxerrois, came from our 100+ vines that our ‘Vignes Centenaires’ cuvée is made from.
  • Generation number two comes from a more recent Gamot site that is partially used for our Vielles Vignes.
  • The third and final generation, Clone JU (Jouffreau) 594, comes from another site used for our Vignes Centainaires.>

Vineyard's work

« It’s only time that does not return… »

All of the work was done by hand with pickaxes, shovels, etc. to authenticate the methods of our ancestors who worked the Clos Saint Jean vineyard before us.

Vinification

All of the wine is vinified entirely is small cement tanks to conserve the maximum amount of characteristics from this great terroir. The cuvaison lasts an average of 3 to 5 weeks according to repeated tasting by the Joufreau family.

Our methods of extraction remain traditional and respectful of each vintage’s needs. Gentle pumpovers are performed to obtain a harmonious structure.

Elevage

Aging takes place over 18-24 months in demi-muids. (This is decided upon according to each vintage’s capablities) Racking, tasting, fining and blending over this time allows the tannic structure to soften and bring out the numerous complex aromas of the Malbec.

Nature’s Vicissitudes

In this remote hillside climate, nature has complete control. The winters are harsh and the sun intense in the summer. The 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 vintages were shared with the wild boar and deer population who are apparently drawn to the precious nectar this site produces.

A unique experience in wine

Come discover a collection of wines ranging from 1998 to 2005 that have never been released until now.

The signature of these wines is characterized by aromas of garrigue, ripe fruits, concentration and minerality. Experience the journey we have made with this unique and exceptional terroir.

« There is only time that does not return… »

The Clos Saint Jean is a 10-ha vineyard located on a hill, near the village Sals, between Castelfranc and Labastide du Vert and named in 1837 “Pech de RA”.