Despite its iconic status, the Cayron plot (4.5 hectares) is something of a challenge! “It’s an exceptional terroir, but the vines are right at the limit of accessibility,” comments Nicolas Speranza, “with very steep slopes and a lot of work in proportion to the surface area. We grow vines on slopes that had been abandoned, as they never ripened. These late-ripening vines compensate for hot years, bringing significant freshness and elegance to the wines.”
The “banquettes” or mini terraces where vines flourish have been redesigned, and Grenache vines have been grafted using vine stock from massal selection (see opposite) to suit these extreme conditions. “We consider each and every vine individually,” adds Nicolas Speranza, “it’s extremely meticulous!” The first grapes are expected in two or three years.
Massal selection: guaranteeing the diversity of viticultural heritage
Unlike clonal selection, massal selection consists of removing buds from several individual vines and reproducing them through grafting. Whilst this technique increases costs by 60%, it enables the vines to increase their genetic diversity and protects them from any degeneration.