Tasting the Winemaking Consultant’s “Home” Wine

Domaine de l'A red wine

Domaine de l’A is the home vineyard of Stéphane and Christine Derenoncourt

What Kind of Wine Do Consultants Make at Home?
In the world of wine, there are winemakers whose expertise is respected to the point that they are searched out for advice, and often end up building a business around their approach. Each has a unique approach. For some, rich, ripe, smooth polished international style of wine is the desired outcome.

Stéphane Derenoncourt takes a different approach. He guides vignerons toward creating a healthy vineyard with vines whose roots reach deep into the soil. He is a proponent of organic and biodynamic viticulture. Stéphane came to winemaking the hard way, starting out as a vineyard worker, then working in the cellar of several estates for years before he found his way into winemaking and leading the operation. Today he happily consults for small clients with humble aspirations as well as famous clients with big name estates. I had the opportunity to meet Stéphane Derenoncourt at the En Primeur week in Bordeaux in 2017 thanks to our Millesima hosts.

#20 is Castillon-Cotes de Bordeaux, just next to Saint Emilion map courtesty of Decanter magazine (http://www.decanter.com/wine/wine-regions/bordeaux-wines/)

Domaine de L’A in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux
Stéphane and Christine Derenoncourt purchased Domaine de l’A in 1999 (website is in French, but you can view in Google Chrome or use Google translate to view it in English). It is located in the Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux, immediately to the east of Saint-Émilion. Farmed under organic and biodynamic principles, the domain is their “laboratory of ideas”, where they can perfect their approach to viticulture. It also acts as a training ground for their apprentice vignerons and consultants.

Situated in the rolling hills of the Right Bank, the soil is limestone and clay. They have 11 hectares (about 24 acres) of grapes, consisting of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The average age of the vines is 40 years

In 2005, they built their winery and cellar.  The building is made of natural materials, with no cement or metal! In the winery, they take a minimalist approach, with the intent to bring in well tended perfectly ripe grapes, ferment in small wooden barrels using indigenous yeast, and aging 16-18 months in barrel.

Domaine de l’A Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux AOC 2014 (sample $22 online)
Eye: Clear, medium ruby with a ruby edge. The wine lightly stains the glass
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Deep dark ripe fruit: blackberries & blueberries, mild mushrooms and leather in the background. Hints of vanilla far behind that.
Mouth: Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins. Medium intensity of flavors with the fruit and earthy notes carrying through a medium length finish. Delicious and ready to drink now, but would only improve with some additional age. 13.5%abv

Disclosure: The wine was a media sample.  All opinions are my own.

Tenderloin Steak and Vegetable Tian
I grill all winter long, but the early evenings challenge photos.  I love the switch to daylight savings time, as it becomes “daylight grill and photo time” for me!

With a wine so carefully and thoughtfully made, a simple preparation of local pasture raised, grass fed beef seems just right. Our favorite is the tenderloin steak from our farmer friends at Sunshine Harvest Farm.  Even though it’s Provençal in origin, a vegetable tian makes a great side for the steak. Add some sauteed mushrooms if you like!

Sunshine Harvest Farms tenderloin steak

Sunshine Harvest Farms pasture raised tenderloin needs nothing beyond a bit of salt & pepper


More on Stéphane Derenoncourt
Interested in more of the Stéphane Derenoncourt story? Here are a couple of good references

  • Jancis Robinson article from 2004 here
  • Derenoncourt consultants website here
  • Wine spectator article on the derenoncourt guided 2016 wines here
  • Wikipedia article here

Domaine de l'A is the home wine of Stephane Derenoncourt. More at www.foodwineclick.com


6 Responses to “Tasting the Winemaking Consultant’s “Home” Wine”
  1. Lisa Denning says:

    I hear he makes an excellent wine in Napa as well!

  2. Everything looks great Jeff. What a cool experience!

  3. Wine-Deli-Trieks says:

    Reblogged this on Wine-Deli-Trieks.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Wine Click profiles Domaine de l’A , the home vineyard of Bordeaux-based wine consultants, Stéphane and Christine […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: