Chateau Coutet vineyard is established on the first hill of Saint-Émilion, half a kilometre away from the village. Coutet’s closest neighbours are all prestigious châteaux.
Its vines have always been grown with the higher respect of the terroir and nature, as a result of which it obtained the organic certification in 2012. A walk among Coutet’s vines helps understand why the Saint-Émilion landscape is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The density of plantation is about 6,000 vines/ha. The vine population is made up of 60% merlot, 30% bouchet (cabernet franc), 5% cabernet sauvignon and, as a touch of originality, 5% pressac (local malbec).
The vines are 38 years old on average.
All the classic work is done manually and no chemical treatment (weed killer, pesticide) has ever been used at Coutet. The rich biotope and diverse flora surrounding the vine make it possible to practice healthy and sustainable agriculture, allowing natural predators known as “pests” to play a role in limiting erosion and controlling yields. Natural composts are added punctually.
The vines are pruned in winter according to the double Guyot system, leaving two long canes, and additional work is done just after the flowering in order to regulate and choose the grape and foliage load of each vine. The lifting and the leaf thinning contribute to keep the vines and the harvest in good health. The grapes are obviously harvested by hand, in small crates, and the different varietals are picked at different dates, depending on their ripeness.
Coutet’s location, at the top of the Saint-Martin de Mazerat plateau, offers a unique view to as far as several kilometres around:
• To the south, over the Entre-Deux-Mers hillsides on the left bank of the Dordogne river;
• To the west, on the Fronsac hillock and even to Bordeaux on clear days.
At Coutet, nature has been particularly preserved: no weed killer or pesticide has ever been used. It is one of the rare places of the Saint-Émilion region where some spinneys of pedunculate oaks, holm oaks and sessile oaks subsist. Fig trees are also well represented and some small, dry meadows are home to several orchid varieties.
Springtime is announced by the blooming of beautiful tulips and narcissus that light up the rows of vines still bare, whereas autumn gives walkers the opportunity to savour some figs, walnuts, apples, peaches, and pears along the paths.
Both the varied flora and the diversified fauna enable the vines to thrive without any synthetic additive. Few estates offer discoveries of this kind.
Saint-Émilion and its vineyard are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To understand why, you are welcome to come for a walk through Coutet at any time of the year.
The Saint-Martin plateau (4.5 ha)
These plots are located on the southwestern summit of the famous Saint-Martin de Mazerat plateau, facing southeast/southwest. The centrepiece of thisterroir is Peycocut, which stretches half over Beauséjour and half over Coutet.
The subsoil, made of asteriated limestone, is covered with shallow, medium to fine textured, calcareous brown soil. The limestone rock shows in several places. This is the typical geological structure of the Saint-Émilion plateau.
Peycocut was one of the first plots in Saint-Émilion to be identified as exceptional. Indeed, on the 21stSeptember 1541, the Jurade decided on the official harvest date after having seen “Puycogut” (seeMémoires du moine Brangier).
The plots on the Saint-Martin plateau are Peycocut, le Journal (the newspaper), Les Pommiers (the apple trees), Martin, Les Vendangeurs (the grape-pickers), Le Plateau (the plateau) and Les Blaireaux (the badgers). They are surrounded by prestigiousPremiers Grands Crus Classés neighbours, Beauséjour-Bécot, Beauséjour-Duffau and Angélus, and by a Grand Cru Classé neighbour, Bellevue. Two other Premiers Grands Crus Classés, Canon and Clos Fourtet, are situated within 500 m of Coutet.
The Côte de Franc (3.5 ha)
The Saint-Émilion Côte de Franc is the slope of the Saint-Martin plateau that descends towards Libourne. It describes a 90-degree arc of a circle, starting with a northwest aspect on the Franc Pourret’s side, and facing directly south in Coutet.
The rock is visible in several places up the hillside, and the ground, deeper than on the plateau, is made up of heavy, clay-limestone soil and of foot-of-the-slope clay-limestone soil. Many great Saint-Émilion wines can be found on this type of soil.
The Côte de Franc is also one of the thirteen sites of the whole jurisdiction that the jurats had to visit before fixing the harvest date.
The plots on the hillside are La Côte (the hillside, south and north), L’Escalier (the stairs), Le Squelette (the skeleton), Cucurot and half of Canon. They adjoin three Grands Crus Classés.
The foot of the slope (5 ha)
In that place, the soil is mainly compounded of clayey sand recarbonated on the surface, lying partly on iron oxides not far below the surface.
The plots at the foot of the slope are the other half of Canon, La Porte Rouge (the red door), La Toumièle, Les Tilleuls (the lime trees), Chez Jeannot (Jeannot’s), Les Sables (the sands) and Les Peupliers (the poplars, north and south). These plots are encircled by three Grands Crus Classés: Angélus, Le Couvent des Jacobins and Grand Mayne.