The gifts of nature
In 2020, Tristan Le Lous and José Sanfins launched the construction of a new wine cellar in line with their shared standards and their perpetual quest for excellence. This project was conceived in tribute to the land and the bonds that tie Cantenac Brown to nature. It is driven by the desire to build on what already exists, with what nature offers this land.
This philosophy is embodied through this eco-construction project to build a cellar entirely of raw earth. A one-of-a-kind wine cellar in which environmental quality standards are set at today’s highest possible level, while guaranteeing thermal inertia and the perfect humidity for aging thanks to the power of the earth.
This project was designed by Philippe Madec, contracted architect, project leader and pioneer in eco-construction and former UN expert. This 5000 m² cellar, combining modernity and sustainability, will be a remarkable technical feat:
• The project will retain the old historical buildings while laying new surfaces without distorting the site, using only natural, untreated materials: raw earth and solid wood from the Aquitaine region. Simple, pure and authentic biosourced materials without any use of cement;
• The walls of the cellar will be built using the thousand-year-old technique of rammed earth construction. Men will compress the raw earth, composed of clay and sand, directly at the Château to form the walls of this unique building;
• The cellar’s low vault will be a technical feat, made of CEBs (compressed earth blocks made from clay), and will be one-of-a-kind in Europe given its size and the only such structure worldwide to have a wooden framework.
An optimal technical itinerary
This raw earth cellar will offer an optimal technical itinerary to ensure the precision, control and quality of the vinification process:
• The building is designed to ensure that the grapes follow a gravity flow, to fully preserve their essence;
• The cellar’s thermal inertia provided by the raw earth will avoid the need for air conditioning and will offer the perfect atmosphere, in terms of temperature and humidity levels, for the stability and ageing of the wines in barrels without requiring energy consumption;
• The vat room will be composed of a very large number of small vats to allow for separate vinification for each parcel and high-precision blending.
Through this project, visitors will enjoy a memorable tour, with nature at their fingertips, during which they will learn about the journey from vine to wine, calling upon all the senses.