The terroir

A “terroir” is characterized by the association of four different components: the climate, the topology, the soil and the vines.
 

The climate
 
The climate at Château Fonvert is typically mediterranean, with dry and hot summers, quite dry winters, and cool and quite humid autumns and springs.
 
 
The Luberon mountain has a cooling effect. Cool nights are favorable to the polyphenols (tannins and pigments) synthesis in the berries. Thus, it secures the natural acidity of the grapes and ensures the delicate balance of the wines.
 
A low level of rain, especially during the summer, induces a moderate water stress into the vines, which is optimal for the quality of the grapes. What’s more, a dryer weather limits the development of the vine fungus (mildew and oïdium) that need water to propagate. Therefore, it enables a reduction of the phytosanitary treatments, which are now, at Château Fontvert, exclusively organic. The mistral wind, frequent and quite strong at times, dries the grapes and the leaves quickly after a rain or a morning dew, and so contributes to the limitation of fungus propagation.  

The topology
 
Thanks to its favorable location on the Southern side of the limestone Luberon moutain, numerous hillside parcels of our vineyard benefit from a south or south-east exposition, ideal for a perfect grape ripening.
 

The soils
 
The central Luberon mountain is a great limestone bar, reaching 1125 meters (3700 feet) and spreading over about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Manosque, in the east, to Cavaillon, in the west. On each flank of the bar, sedimentary rocks such as molasses, sands, zaffers… are to be found, deposited during a marine submersion phase wich took place at the end of the Tertiary era.
These marine sediments can be found in our vineyards, with two different types:

- soils made of calcareous molasses: conglomerate of pebbles, gravels, sands and silt. They favor the concentration of the polyphenols, and lead to red wines of higher quality.

- sandy or marly soils. They favor aromatic fineness, optimal for white and rosé wines.
 

The vines
 
The Château Fontvert vineyard is planted with a selection of qualitative varieties:

- Syrah (Shiraz), Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre for the red wines
- Grenache Blanc and Vermentino (Rolle) for the white wines
- Grenache Noir, Syrah (Shiraz), Cinsault and Mourvèdre for the rosé wines
 
The implantation of these varieties has been carefully considered in order to get an optimal harmony between the characteristics of the parcel (soil, topology), the variety, and the standard of wine expected. Globally, the varieties used for quality red wines (richness, concentration) are preferentially planted on hillsides with pebbly soils of molasses, whereas the flat and sandy parcels are ideal for the white varieties (freshness and aromatic fineness). Numerous over-grafting (replacement of a variety by a new one without uprooting the vines) have been done between 2003 and 2006 in order to reach the optimal implantation of the vineyard.
 
Last, but not least, the great age of vines secures a natural regulation of the yield, wich is below 35 hectoliters/hectare, and guarantees a high concentration of polyphenols and aromatic precursors in the berries (be they red or white). Our oldest parcel was planted in 1958, which is quite an outstanding fact.
 

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