A bit of background
The Pouizin family has been growing wine in Visan since 1922. Now head of the estate, Rémi Pouizin is continuing to develop his family’s reputation as traditional wine growers known for protecting the environment – a commitment that began long before today’s organic production techniques became fashionable.
It all goes back to when Rémi’s great, great grandmother bought the ‘La Fourmente’ estate. Situated in unspoiled open countryside just outside the village of Visan, battered by the Mistral and under the watchful eye of Mont Ventoux, Rémi’s great grandparents Paul and Marie-Louise ran the estate from 1922 to 1972 before handing over the reins to Rémi’s recently retired father Jean-Louis.
Having joined the team in 1995, Rémi began learning his trade by producing a series of micro vintags. Certified AB (organic agriculture) since 2004, the vines, which extend over more than 43 hectares, have, in reality been farmed using organic methods for a very long time.
During the 1960s, having noticed the harmful impact of the first pesticides, Paul and Marie-Louise Pouizin, who were already ardent followers of the Lemaire-Boucher method, decided to adopt a more natural approach. And, helped by their daughter Paulette (herself a published author of articles about biodynamic agriculture) it was their techniques that led to the estate’s reputation as environmentally-friendly.
In 2011, Rémi Pouizin became head of the estate and in doing so became the fifth generation of the family to manage the property.
A new name for a new start
In early 2014 Rémi (40) and his wife Geraldine were able to purchase a beautiful property situated on the edge of Visan in an area known as Dieulefit. And that is how the ‘Domaine La Fourmente’ became ‘Domaine Dieulefit’.
This magnificent property, which was formerly owned by the Bedoin family, dates back to 1840 and, with is one hundred year old pine trees is a haven of peace and quiet. « Every morning I watch the sun coming up and s art the day by saying simply ‘Thank you' », says Rémi.
Today the estate has 25 hectares of vines all being farmed organically with the life of the ground always a priority. And, to soften the tannins that are sometimes present Rémi is going to use tapered wooden tanks to add the finishing touch to the maturing process and help realize his desire for harmony and balance – two words omnipresent in his ambition to create a prestige vintage that will be the estate’s flagship vintage.
DMeanwhile a range of traditional, organically-grown vegetables is going to be cultivated by Garaldine over in the farmhouse inn ‘La Dinette’. Fully committed to the philosophy of ‘Slow Food’, La Dinette is all about producing everything locally, providing organic menus with ingredients grown on or around the estate itself.
Biodynamic wine-growing remains one of the great sources of inspiration to Rémi Pouizin, himself a member of the Movement for the Renaissance of Appellations, created by Nicolas Joly. But it is not his only motivation.
Because Rémi is determined to base his techniques on his own experience. After ten years of experimental activity and inspired by the principles of agronomy (the science of producing plants for food, fuel, fibre and land reclamation) he chose in 2011 to revert to a more independent position.
Noticing also that some of the vegetative measures used in the wine-making process were leading to a hardening of his grapes’ skin and heightening certain tannins, Rémi Pouizin refined his farming methods in 2011 by combining herbal tea plants and composts with a slight spraying of a very good quality mineral sulphur. « I am not an extremist from the ‘no sulphur’ school’ even though our wines have for the most part less than 20mg/l of S02 », adds Rémi.
Rémi’s ambition is to obtain pure easy to drink wines made from healthy balanced grapes. The fermentation of the de-stalked grapes takes place in stainless steel and wooden tanks with only the least trace of sulphur being added before bottling. The bottling itself is always done on a ‘root day’ (based on the lunar calendar when the moon affects the root system of plants making it the perfect time to sow, plant, care for and harvest root vegetables) or a ‘fruit day’ from the biodynamic calandar.
For, although Rémi Pouizin is a wine-grower with his feet on the ground, he also has his head turned towards the sky. « These methods link biodynamic and bioenergetic concepts with an almost sacred, if that’s not too strong a word, approach », says Rémi. « I know the word ‘sacred’ is almost unmentionable, so I’d better explain. What we’re doing with biodynamic farming at the moment has made me question more fundamental issues like the results of man’s work on the land. To put it another way, when we decide to spray a 500 (a biodynamic solution) on our crops we’re basically sending a message of fertility to the earth. And the moment you accept that principal you realize you’ve moved into a more spiritual sphere. »
« What links all the reds in our range is the ever-present sensation of fruit. From our first reserve ‘Amour de Fruit’ to our ‘Vieux Grenache des Garrigues’ and ‘Grains Sauvages’ as well our our ‘Pious’ range we use the strict minimum of sulphur. «