———De Fontenille, our land…
47 000 of vines forming one of the most famous vineyards in the world.
Between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, the Entre-deux-Mers region stands East of the largest department of France, the Gironde (over 10,000 km2).
‘Entre-deux-Mers’ comes from the Latin “Inter duo maria” which means between two tides. Indeed, this name is related to the influence of the tides that go up the course of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers via the Gironde estuary. The Mascaret, tidal bore, is a wave formed by the shock between the rising tide and the flow of the rivers. The Entre-deux-Mers is a verdant land that ripples from ridges to hills, from hills to valleys. It is usually called ‘Bordeaux Tuscany’.
The abbey of La Sauve Majeure
The history of the Abbey of La Sauve Majeure dates back to 1079 when a Benedictine monk, who later became Saint Gerard de Corbie, founded Notre Dame de la Sauve Majeure in the heart of a vast forest in the Entre-deux-Mers. The expansion of the abbey was possible thanks to the support of the Duke of Aquitaine and of the proximity of the ‘Santiago de Compostela’ way.
Under the impetus of the Church, the vineyard developed as early as the 12th century. The Benedictine abbey of La Sauve-Majeure plays a decisive role in clearing hillsides, well exposed to implant the vines. That’s when the adventure of the Entre-deux-Mers vineyards begins, as well as Fontenille’s, located right next to the Abbey.
70 The abbey is at the head of 70 priories divided between England and Aragon in the 12th century.
It’s a long story——————
A relation with history
In the 4th century, when the poet Ausone praised the wines of the region, rose to the place called “Font e melha” a Roman villa of which there are only scattered remains. The vine was already there.
In 1290 the vines were already mentioned in a lease at Fontemilles
In the 15th century, Domaine de Fontemilles is shown in the archives of the Abbey of La Sauve Majeure and was attached as a land to the Abbey until the 17th century.
Stéphane Defraine’s passion
Stéphane’s vitality and constant concern to question himself is very seductive. ” “There are excellent terroirs in the Entre-deux-Mers, worthy of the greatest Bordeaux wines. As soon as we replant with the right densities, the right clone, the right rootstocks and the right vineyard management, it works! We produce top quality grapes that can interest the whole world.”
From his meetings with distributors and visits to vineyards around the world, he became aware of the widening gap between Bordeaux and the New World. He then decided to change the orientation of the Fontenille vineyard. He sets a course for technological excellence, combines rigour and inventiveness in his vines, his cellar, and he builds a commercial network to sell his wines directly. Writing in this way sounds simple, but you have to measure at its true value the amount of energy and pugnacity that Stéphane had to deploy to get where he is now.
“Passionate, we are guided by our desire to share a terroir, a culture, a vision of the place of man within these values. We are aware of being just a link in an adventure that began almost 10 centuries ago and will continue long after us.”