The objective of Clos des Lunes is clearly defined: to create a fine dry white wine that will with time become part of the same legend that describes the sweet wines of Sauternes.
The winemaking practices at Clos des Lunes take inspiration from those of Domaine de Chevalier, and benefit from an expertise in creating impressive dry white wines.
“A great wine originates from great fruit. It is the natural expression of a great terroir. Man simply reveals it… The terroir determines everything”, explains Olivier Bernard. This approach, based upon an absolute respect for the terroir and the fruit, is put into practice through an endless pursuit of quality through research and constant refinement.
Just like at Chevalier, the harvest at Clos des Lunes is carried out by hand, with extreme care and several passes through the vines as the grapes reach maturity. It takes place in the morning. This level of precision throughout the picking and sorting processes makes it possible to obtain perfectly ripe fruit.
In the winery, the purity of the fruit therefore allows for a simple, natural vinification that enables the individual properties of the terroir to reveal themselves. Following the precise and plot-by-plot approach to harvesting, vinification takes place in small thermo-regulated vats of 50 hectolitres or in barrels. This is determined according to the quality of wine, following a very gentle, slow pressing of the grapes.
In the words of Hugo Bernard, director of Clos des Lunes:
“By separating and carefully identifying each batch of wine, we allow for very precise blending. Each year, this crucial phase - the culmination of a year’s efforts - is also a special moment for our team to share and contribute to”.
The production of Clos des Lunes is split into three carefully distinguished labels.
With Lune d’Or, our ambitions are extremely high. Everything comes down to a meticulous selection that produces a very small quantity of just 20 barrels each year. This wine sits alongside the world’s greatest. It offers remarkable purity, great expressiveness, a very rich structure and a soulfulness that reveals itself as time passes…
Lune d’Argent is the heart of Clos des Lunes’ production. We firmly believe in the future of this legendary terroir and its truly original style. With a touch of French oak, the Sémillon is dense and rich, the Sauvignon Blanc refined and precise. This cuvée of dry white wine promises to convey all the magic of Sauternes.
Lune Blanche provides ultimate refreshment. Soft and harmonious, it is not matured in oak and intended to be enjoyed in its youth. It offers vivacious, pure ripe fruit that will bring pleasure to all occasions.
Situated on the left bank of the Garonne river, 40km south of Bordeaux, the vineyards of Sauternes are legendary. Reputed the world over, Sauternes possesses no fewer than twenty six 1855 ‘Classified Growths’.
It is upon this most ancient terroir, best known for its sweet wines of remarkable quality, that Olivier Bernard decided to write a new chapter, beginning in 2011. Here, with the Domaine de Chevalier team, he expressed a firm commitment to produce some of the finest dry white wines.
The success of this adventure is down to the unique pairing of this remarkable and complex terroir with the team at Domaine de Chevalier’s great expertise in producing fine dry white wines. Clos des Lunes pioneers an innovative revelation in the history of Bordeaux wine.
The result is an entirely new wine that possesses modernity but is reassured by tradition - with a deep blue label, a unique bottle shape, a modern cork and a short capsule. A wine that with time proves the sound reasoning behind this quest: “At present no vintage, no single bottle shows the least sign of fatigue. There is still freshness and vivacity. This wine has real energy…”, affirms Olivier Bernard.
The soils that make up the terroir of Sauternes are composed of deep, well-aerated coarse gravel on the high ground, and red clay in Barsac. They lie upon a clay-limestone subsoil into which the old vines spread deep their roots.
It is upon this land, which offers remarkable freshness, that Olivier Bernard chose to position Clos des Lunes. The terroir’s wonderful diversity of expression can be witnessed as it is blended into each of the wines.
Among other advantages, Clos des Lunes benefits from excellent natural drainage thanks to sloping hills and a ubiquitous underground water network. Together, these two attributes ensure excellent hydric balance, demonstrated by the flourishing high-density vineyard.
“People often say that Pauillac is the natural home of Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pomerol the natural home of Merlot. In the same vein, I would like to propose that Sauternes is that of Sémillon”, suggests Olivier Bernard. Clos des Lunes owes its originality to the Sémillon grape. Only in Sauternes is Sémillon so dense and pure, even as its expression and nuances vary from village to village and from plot to plot.
Broadly speaking, grapes from around the village of Sauternes offer power and depth, in Bommes freshness and in Barsac elegance and finesse. Clos des Lunes is a magical combination of these different terroirs: carefully balanced, the blend delivers a wine with levels of complexity and precision, aromatic purity and elegance that rival the world’s finest white wines.
In Sauternes, respect for nature is inextricably linked with the region's viticultural heritage. The development of botrytis, or ‘noble rot’, can only occur in a vineyard where the environment is protected. Reconversion to organic agriculture is relatively straightforward. A traditional, natural, manual approach in the vineyard and winery has been passed on from generation to generation.
The region is home to some of the oldest families of winemakers, who possess a deep understanding of their land and its needs. Each plot of vines therefore has its own identity, its own history. “In Sauternes, the history of the vineyard can be witnessed in the nature and countryside that surround it. Together, they portray an image of tradition and care with small, sometimes minuscule plots of land divided up and passed down through generations. Most often, they are perfectly kept. You can feel the history in the air…” notes Olivier Bernard.