La Nomade 2018 - Chateau Tire Pe


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This is a great steak wine. Really quite structured and and long. Lots of black fruit character and pepper, dry and very moreish.

A thoughtful example of a grape on the up.

Grape: Pineau d'Aunis

Region: Loire, France


The son of a cereal and grain producer in central France, David Barrault studied food and agriculture in Bordeaux where he discovered the art of winemaking while working at various wineries in the region. After some time in South Africa, David then worked in a number of French vineyards: Chateau Suau (Premiere Cotes, Bordeaux) and Chateau Faugeres (Saint Emillion, Bordeaux).

It was in August 1997, however, that David and his wife Helene arrived at the Tire Pé estate in the south-east of Entre-Deux-Mers: its spectacular hillside promontory and clay-and-limestone slopes overlook the Garonne - the steep trail eventually levels out onto Tire Pé’s stunning belvedere (once a welcome resting point for working animals in the area). The estate itself occupies 15.5 hectares of south-facing vines, 2.5 hectares of walnut trees, and another 10 hectares of lush forest and meadowland. David has never wanted his wine estate to be a monoculture, and Helene’s fifteen-horse equestrian centre on the Tire Pé estate is an active part of this ethos. After the harvest, the horses are left to roam free in the vineyards.

Like many others, David describes winemaking as a ‘métier’ - a word whose roots and associations might take you as close to a person’s ‘trade’ or ‘occupation’ as they might to a ‘true calling’, ‘talent’ or ‘service to something beyond oneself’. But Tire Pé’s dedication to their ‘métier’ is humbling - they’re living proof that winemaking is a craft which must work both with, and against, something truly unmasterable: the delicate and changeable cycles of mother nature. David maintains that to be a winemaker, your outlook must be ‘like that of a tightrope-walker’: constantly seeking balance and precision, while making continuous adjustments along the way. Tire Pé understand that any passionate winemaker is in constant negotiation with the infinite complexities of the world around them.

In this way, David is driven by the ‘perpetual movements’, both in the Tire Pé terrain, and the human chain of actions and emotions that are so deeply connected to the landscape; David has been unafraid of accepting periods of ‘doubt and discomfort’ as part of any serious winemaker’s evolution - not just being alert to change, but always being ready to adapt and adjust. Tire Pé’s holistic approach - one which acknowledges and embraces mother nature’s challenges and complexities rather than resisting them - is part of David’s own ‘bacchic philosophy’. His philosophy is a fitting blend of science and supplication in whose name the original myth of the Roman god of winemaking and grape-harvest, Bacchus, would have been founded. The Roman god’s name is justly used: terra-cotta jars are used (as well as oak barrels) in the aging of many Tire Pé wines. And David’s engagement with tradition, or ‘autrefois’, is evident in many of the estate’s day-to-day agricultural practices: with as little intervention in the natural processes as possible, most of the harvests at Tire Pé are done entirely by hand. Everything is destemmed, and Tire Pé’s ‘L’échappée’ uses a variety of the Girondine grape (‘Mancin des Palus’) which is thought to date back to medieval times - writings from 1781 celebrate its popularity in certain Grands Crus of Graves and Medoc. Today, the variety has almost entirely disappeared.

Tire Pé has been in organic production mode since 2008, and the estate has been certified organic (‘Ecocert’) since 2011. Since beginning the Tire Pé adventure, David and Helene have had three children (Louise, Zoé, and Octave) - perhaps they also characterize Tire Pé’s child-like sense of fascination with the world around them, their utter dedication to that world, and the light-hearted acceptance of the uncertainty it can bring. Always evolving, working with nature while remaining ready to learn and adapt, Tire Pé strives for authenticity, originality, simplicity, and, of course, taste … we’re sure you’ll find all these things in their wine.