In September 2016, Daniel was walking through a vineyard with his mentor Jean-Claude Berrouet, the winemaker at Chateau Petrus in Pomerol from 1964 to 2007, when JCB said in French, “You know Daniel that Olivier de Serres was the first to define terroir in 1600 in his work Le Théâtre d’Agriculture when he said that “Terroir est composè de l’air, la terre et le complant ”. (terroir is made up of the climate, the soil and the complant) Daniel asked what “complant” meant and JCB said that it was an obsolete word from the Old French that meant a cultivated vine or tree that produced fruit. By specifying a cultivated plant, de Serres had in fact called out four, not three elements: the climate, the soil, the plant and the human. Without the involvement of the human, there is no terroir. Daniel recounted this story to Sam and they decided to use it for the name of their new wine. The problem was that Olivier de Serres didn’t exactly say that. When we finally found the exact quote on page 147 of Le Théâtre d’Agriculture what he said was “L’aer (old spelling), la Terre et le Complant sont le fondement du Vignoble.” No mention of terroir at all, which seemed to already be in usage. The climate, the soil and the cultivated plant are the foundation of the vineyard. Still a wonderful quote. Just don’t tell Jean-Claude.
Early in our discussions about our new wine venture, Sam came up with the idea of having a complant from our home garden on each of our wine labels. We commissioned his tattoo artist, Kristina McDonald, a talented fine artist in her own right, to do color drawings of the blossoms of fruit bearing plants that grace our home property. And we paired them with the appropriate wine. Apple blossom for the Chardonnay, Peach blossom for the Rosé, Pomegranate blossom for the Pinot Noir and blackberry blossom* for the Cabernet Sauvignon. By the way, our cork brand is the “Pomme-en-main” (apple in hand) heurtoir (door knocker) that Daniel brought back from France. It is the one tattoo that all three children have – their symbol of home.