Franck Labeyrie defines himself as a “winegrower in natural environment”. He is a Bordeaux winegrower who has decided to live his passion and makes his dreams come true.
He grew up between Château du Coureau and Château du Grand Moueys of his grandfathers, in the middle of vineyards. Keen to pursue the work done by former generations and to contribute bringing his own methods; in 2000, he acquired and started working 11 hectares of vineyards in the designation Graves AOP of Château de Lugey.
Very familiar with the Arcachon Bay and chatting with an oyster farmer about the advantages of deep sea farming, the idea of using these techniques for wine maturation grew in his mind. He knew already that the oldest drinkables wines bottles till date had been found under the Ocean. Some of them are as old as 200 years! He then thought about an under-sea wine cellar for a white wine that would be perfectly pairing with oysters. In December 2008, he submerged and aged his first white wine bottles in deep sea, in the middle of the oysters’ farms of the Arcachon Bay, close to the Birds Island and its traditional houses on stilts. This meeting between land and sea led to the first bottles of the “White of the Huts” (Blanc des Cabanes). Comparing bottles which have matured during 6 months under the sea with the ones which stayed in the traditional cellar, 2 surprises have come out:
– The first one is the visual aspect: the sea bottles are covered by sea concretions and shells, and the wine colour turned to a nice golden yellow;
– The second one is gustatory: the wine is more supple and rounder with a light touch of toast and iodine.
In 2015, the “Red of the Huts” (Rouge des Cabanes) has been introduced to complete the range of Wine of the Huts (Vin des Cabanes).
His natural curiosity pushed him further to try a similar experience in another wild environment, and in 2018 he buried 1200 bottles of white and red wine under the snow, by helicopter at an altitude of 2400 meter, in Cauterets in the French Pyrenees. A world Premiere! In June 2018, bottles woke up from hibernation and have been opened during an event attended by the press, oenologists and sommeliers. From this intuition is born the “Wine of the Snows” (Vin des Neiges), white and red, which will be available by end of 2019 or beginning of 2020.
These experiences reinforced Franck’s idea that exchanges phenomenon exists between the wine and the outside environment. These exchanges being possible thanks to the cork acting as a filter. And he already has new pending projects…
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