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Interview with David Elefteriou, Cellar Master at the Filliatreau Domain

Once the grapes are harvested, the team working in the vineyard passes the baton onto the cellar manager, who is tasked with making the wine.  He is responsible for ensuring proper wine fermentation, followed by the bottling.

Q: How did you become the cellar master at the domain?

« I started in the domain’s vineyards 27 years ago.  Little by little, I spent more and more time in the cellar with the manager at the time, and I took over when he retired in 2005.  I already had a little experience with wine from Chinon, and continuing with winemaking made sense to me.
In the beginning, Paul was very present, both in the vineyards and in the cellar.  He knew where he wanted to go and had in mind the specifics he wanted to give his wines, the ‘Filliatreau’ touch.  I followed his steps, even if we often had disagreements!  It was in tasting the different barrels that we agreed: we were heading in the same direction. »

Q : What defines the Filliatreau touch ?

«  Enjoyment!  Wines that we can share during the happy moments that life has to offer.  There is a wine for every occasion: the slightly cool wine to pair with grilled food when it’s nice out with friends, the aged wine that we like to drink paired with game, next to a fire … A range of flavours corresponds to each precious moment.  All are different, but each one has the Filliatreau ‘touch,’ always the same since 1967 when Paul created it alongside my predecessor in the cellar, Michel Mercier.  Its nature creates a link between our wines.  You can drink Filliatreau from the beginning to the end of a meal!  »

Q : What impact did going organic, and then biodynamic, have on your work ?

« When we were conventional, we already used very little sulphites.  There is no change in this area, we had already taken the leap.
On the other hand, the transition to biodynamic agriculture requires you to no longer use external yeast, but rather to create your own ‘indigenous’ yeast.  The role of yeast is major in starting fermentation.  This is therefore a key point in our winemaking process.  We develop our own yeast, from Château Fouquet, which has been organic for a long time.  This yeast belongs to the estate, is unique, and allows us to fill the entire cellar with wine. It is kept in two laboratories in Nantes and Clermont-Ferrand in order to secure this essential resource, the DNA of Filliatreau wines.
In practice, winemaking is a more delicate process in biodynamic agriculture.  As all inputs are limited, the wine is very lively and therefore more fragile.  It can evolve quickly during the fermentation process, so it is necessary to be very attentive and do multiple tastings.  You should know that the wine will go through phases that vary in taste, this is normal.  However, if there is a problem you must be ready to remedy it quickly. 
In the face of more intense and more numerous climate hazards in recent years, it is also important to remain reactive. »


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