Everyone who visits Scamander ends up asking the question: “Have you always wanted to make wine?” We must therefore admit that this project was born from a chance meeting with a painter: Pierre-Marie Brisson. Numerous visits to his workshop from the year 2000 forged a friendship. And it was on an evening particularly dedicated to Bacchus that the phrase “What if we made our wine?” arose. Nadine immediately frowned. With Pierre-Marie, we managed to convince her: “it won’t be much, just a few bottles with friends… to say”. Pierre-Marie had a few vines, all he had to do was find a farmhouse and the matter was closed. The finger had just entered the famous gear. The whole body would soon be swallowed up. 20 years later, here we are with 30 hectares including 17 of vines, 6 employees, the memory of sleepless nights and sometimes dark thoughts, and in the end, the feeling of having created from scratch a wonderful “thing”.
Nothing would have been possible without meeting Stéphane Beuret, a young and already talented oenologist who worked for a large Bordeaux estate. He brought us his (encyclopedic) knowledge and helped us in the development and management of the project. We spent so much time on the phone with him setting up this project that our daughters, Erell and Nolwenn, ended up officially adopting him as “Big Brother”. Stéphane is associated with us in the management of the estate.
From the first harvests in 2003, we applied the main founding principles of the estate: manual harvesting, drastic sorting of the grape berries, long aging... and this, in the middle of a field of alfalfa on which the winery had not yet been built. Chai! We can find a sympathetic, almost romantic side to this beginning of the adventure, but we must admit that it was a very difficult first period. The conditions were rock and roll: the vinification vats were outside and the barrels were stored in boat containers. Despite this, the 2003 vintage was rated 18.5/20 by Mr. Tasaki, best sommelier in the world in 1995. This was a great reward which helped to eliminate the nights spent sleeping in the car to avoid thefts as well as the late harvest with only 2 pickers, all the others having let the “Parisians” down.
This first distinction also legitimized our sincere approach to magnifying this terroir in the south of the Rhône Valley, which we quickly identified as being largely underestimated. However, we benefit from an exceptional terroir: our subsoil is made up of pebbles and 15 to 18 meters of clay which store winter rain, allowing the vines to survive dry summers. Furthermore, the Scamandre pond, which is located to the south of the property and which gives its name to our estate, contributes to the creation of a thermal bubble which generates a microclimate very favorable to the cultivation of vines.
Convinced that it is through the vitality of its soil that the terroir expresses itself, we broke from the start with years of chemical cultivation, then almost the norm in viticulture, starting with sustainable cultivation and switching to organic cultivation from 2007. The road was long but the work of the soil paid off when, after a few years, we found our first earthworms. This may seem anecdotal but it was objective testimony that our soil had become alive again. We were also one of the first French wine farms to engage in agroforestry, in partnership with SCOP Agroof and the Yves Rocher Foundation. Since 2007, more than 2,000 trees have been planted on the estate, around or in the plots, contributing to the development of soil biodiversity. They also help attract bats which help us regulate the presence of insects that prey on the vines. Hedges also shelter birds, lizards and other animals which make Scamander an oasis of biodiversity.
In Scamander, we also produce particularly popular honey and olive oil. Finally, throughout the summer, we can enjoy the estate's fruits and vegetables.
Over the past 20 years, the area has considerably transformed, as evidenced by the “before/after” photos that punctuate this work. The interior of the cellar has not been forgotten, with the installation of a professional kitchen dedicated to sharing.
From the beginning, the desire was there to introduce our wines over meals in an intimate atmosphere directly inspired by Dominique Bouchet's former Table, rue Treilhard in Paris. The kitchen was designed with this in mind.
From 2014, with our son-in-law Julien Dussert who had worked as a sommelier for great starred chefs, we launched “Tables de Scamandre”. The concept was simple: welcome 8 people each month at the counter, offer them a m