A jewel in the heart of Provence: between the Mount Sainte-Victoire and the Aurélien hills, between Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Maximin, sits one of the most beautiful terroirs of Provence, the Vallée de l’Arc.
Château Ferry Lacombe, stretching over 130 hectares of forest and vineyard, is sheltered from the Mistral winds by the Mount Sainte-Victoire.
The Ferry family moved here in 1442, accompanying Le Bon Roi René to Aix-en-Provence. They would stay here until 1820.
Jumping forward in history…
Château Ferry Lacombe came into the with a new owner, the Family Pinot, and a single ambition: to produce exceptional wines from a remarkable terroir.
Fifty-five hectares of vines surrounding the estate and on the foothills of the Aurélien hills and Mount Olympe: the calcareous clay soil is classified Côtes de Provence. More calcareous and draining soils on hillside slope
benefit from the Sainte-Victoire Mountain Region designation, recognition by the INAO of our terroir's defining character.
Eleven hectares of vines at the foot of Mount Sainte-Victoire flourish in soil containing crushed pebbles created when the mountain was formed.
The terroir's ability to express itself is linked to an essential point: tillage. The soil is loosened at the onset of winter, along with chiselling designed to promote deep root growth. Ploughing and baring of roots are techniques used to avoid the use of herbicides, while natural fertilisers composted on site are also used.
A harsh winter, where temperatures can drop below –10°C, promotes dormancy and the destruction of parasites. Pruning takes place from December to March, and is short in order to limit the number of shoots.
Attaching operation, the removal of training wires and debudding takes place in the spring.
These operations are designed to control yield and maximise leaf surface area. Green cover of plots and "green harvests", in which excess grape bunches are removed, may also complement this scheme.
"Integrated" farming techniques: treatments are reduced to a minimum. The domain follows the Terra Vitis charter which is the best guaranty. Respecting the environment is part of our ongoing concerns: all effluents associated with vine growing and winemaking are treated biologically, including tank washing and rinsing water.
Removing the training wires helps prevent the development of vegetation in early summer. This way it is no longer necessary to top the vines to allow the tractors to pass between the rows, this promoting better photosynthesis for high-quality grapes.
Then finally in mid-September, its harvest time…
A combination of tradition and the latest technology: A cellar dating back to the late XIX century in which the tanks built into the walls have been renovated (stainless steel, epoxy coating); another cellar contains rows of thermo-controlled stainless steel tanks.
Cellar temperature control, and air renewal ensure optimum conservation of the wines.
Two pneumatic wine presses allow the special characteristics of each grape variety to be respected, each controlling the pressing time and force in a different manner.
The entire process, that culminates in bringing to press grapes that are preserved and as cold as possible, begins in the vineyard: the grapes are preserved to allow the longest maceration time and ensure better extraction of aromas. The Vinification process involves mechanical harvesting that begins as early as 4 am, vibrating bins that prevent the grapes from being crushed, systematic sorting and destemming, and finally gravity feeding of grapes to the press.
Temperature control begins: the juices are cooled to less than 10 °C for proper settling, the fermentation temperatures are maintained between 16 °C and 18 °C for the whites and rosés, and between 25 °C and 27 °C for the red wines.
The white and rosé wines are then matured on fine lees until bottling begins in February of the following year.