Loire — France

Claude Courtois, a pioneer of natural wine, began his journey over 20 years ago in Sologne, rediscovering the path back to "original" nature. This philosophy is deeply rooted in his estate, "les cailloux du paradis" meaning "the stones of paradise".

Courtois has cultivated a 13-hectare farm in the heart of the VDP Sologne that epitomizes biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he doesn’t label himself a biodynamic grower. He maintains a chemical-free environment, growing vines alongside trees, fruit trees, woods, and fields, creating a balanced ecosystem. His methods ensure that no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or synthetic chemicals touch his vines or soil. Instead, he promotes soil vitality through his unique practices, fostering a diverse life within it.

The vineyard produces more than 40 different grape varieties Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Romorantin, Menu Pineau, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pineau d’Aunis, all harvested by hand and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Claude views his farm's soil as a living organism, and his approach harmonizes with nature, resulting in wines that reflect pure, vibrant craftsmanship.

At the moment Claude continues to craft a few monocépages cuvées, while Etienne manages the others, bringing a fresh level of precision to the process. Following the family's tradition, Etienne maintains extended barrel aging and is also experimenting with slightly shorter aging periods, which have introduced a welcome freshness and acidity to the wines.

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