Named after their grandfather, Domaine Emile Grelier has 8 Hectares of vines entirely south facing just north of Bordeaux whose terroir is made up of a mixture of clay and sand. These are sun drenched vines that allow excellent ripening of the grapes. Benoit and Delphine manage the property with their family along passionately environmental lines, having invested heavily in developing a bio-diverse environment they finally started selling their wines in 2012. They raise only one grape, Merlot, and make a Bordeaux Superior that is round and soft and which reflects both the terroir and their choice of grape. Merlot is an excellent variety for Bordeaux, giving a wine that is full of fruit with great complexity.
With a relatively low density of plantation of vines and limited bunches per vine, their grapes and leaves all receive extensive direct sunshine for ripening. This is further enhanced by the use of Cordon de Royat pruning which leaves the bunches well exposed and promotes the growth of smaller bunches with a high skin to juice ratio that is excellent for dense textured wines. To make great wines, you must first grow great grapes and this is what Benoit does.
Their approach is holistic so they encourage suitable insects while controlling others through the use of bats and birds, enticed to the vines by the fruit trees they have planted among them and the bat and bird houses they have installed. They are in the process of restoring natural water sources and ponds, and have planted between the vines specific plant-types that aid the aeration and structure of the soil and even experimented with insulating the land with straw to aid the work of the worms. Their domaine is even used as a refuge for injured Little Owls (Athene Noctua) in need of calm to recover and have installed owleries in the trees for them. In fact, everything they do is aimed at balancing the production of their wine with the ecology of their environment through natural means and this is particularly important for a single variety vineyard.
They work with a range of groups, consultants, technicians and specialists to monitor and manage the flora and fauna to exist harmoniously with both the vines and the people that share the land. In short, they are serious about what the do and more than justify the Bio Certification of their products.
The result? Well you must try for yourself but it is certainly one of my favourites and I am confident it will not disappoint you or your guests.