The land around the 13th century Chateau Terra has been used for agricultural purposes since the Stone Age. The area attracted early settlers – numerous remnants of Neolithic stone tools shaped from flints have been found in the soil. The south-facing aspect of the land covering a layer of limestone that heats up quickly with the first rays of the summer sun, favoured the cultivation and ripening of fruit in this area.
Settlements increased through to medieval times when the manor house, Chateau Terra, was home to one of the Ducs of Duras. The ruins of the chateau with its carved fleur de lys can still be seen at the property and the roaming wild boar have inspired the label on our special cuvee wine – Chateau Terra.
The domaine comprises 6ha of vines, 4ha of pasture where we raise pigs and sheep, and orchards of plum trees. There is also 1.5 hectares of woodland with a mix of old oak and pine trees with sections of horse chestnut trees being coppiced to supply stakes for the vineyard.
The vineyard is a patchwork of small parcels the first of which were planted in 1977. These are the old Cabernet Sauvignon parcels running to the south of the estate buildings on the higher slopes of the hill. These days they are seeing less vigour as they enter the final decade of production, but give the concentrated intensity that adds character and structure to the wine. The youngest of the Cabernet Sauvignon parcels is 9 years old and reaching its prime in both yield and quality.
Newer plantations of Merlot in the eastern parcels of the land, adjacent to the woods of Savignac, ensure that there is a continuity of vine development and an extra dimension to the red wine. A small parcel of 19 year-old Cabernet Franc again give good wine making options as they are now seeing the best of their productive life.
The white wine is produced from the two small parcels of Sauvignon Blanc. These are some of the original plantings, following one year after the first of the Cabernet Sauvignon. The yield, as with the old Cabernet, is very low as the vines have seen better days but the intensity of flavours produces a very enjoyable dry white.