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Château Jean Faure

“The future does not lie in an architectural concept but in a concept of life”

Who has never heard of the Picard' boss's story? He embodied the success of these captains of industry who decide to change live drastically. Visionary, enthusiastic, passionate, Olivier Decelle settled at Jean Faure and has taken up the challenge.

Marie-Laure Latorre, Paolo Basso et Olivier Decelle

"Listen to your destiny" likes to say Olivier Decelle, looking at the sky and the whims of the weather, crouching between two rows of vines and raving about the return of the hoopoes. He first bought Mas Amiel in Roussillon, then Jean Faure in Saint-Emilion, then a vineyard in Burgundy then in Rhône for no less than 700,000 bottles produced per year.

In Saint-Emilion, it is a beautiful but suffocating estate that he chose in 2004 in the kingdom of the gravelly clays and ferruginous sands. Swiftly, he understood that wine can not be reduced to a simple magic formula. Born of an idea of purity and fulfillment, it must tell a soil and a climate, reflect the life and the notion of time he had lost. He refuses the tricks to impress. "My goal is elsewhere, balance and harmony to generate finesse and elegance. And that goes primarily through the life of the soil, it was the most solid structure to create here, so that the roots draw deep, and are less dependent on the climate hazards. It was my friend Jacques Boissenot who taught me everything." Quickly, he converts to organic, plows his 18 hectares with a horse, reflects on the soil fertility, on biodynamics, listening to his land, while remaining extremely accurate. He does not give in to the sirens of over-extraction, especially not with the Cabernet Franc (50%) that he particularly appreciates, building his own ethics: "I like austerity in men and in wine. I build my wines with acidity to get elegance, tension and freshness," the enthusiast winegrower explains.

Very quickly, Olivier Decelle's style propelled the wines from the shadow into the light of the greatest. In 2012, Jean Faure was given back the rank of Grand Cru Classé that it had lost and obtained the Organic Agriculture certification from the 2017 vintage, something rare among the Grand Crus. After having resurrected its sleeping beauty, at the age of 63, for the first time he hires a technical director to take a step back and start thinking about his succession. He instinctively chose Marie Laure Latorre whose atypical career (blending for the distributor brand Système U) he likes. And, living on the spot, he decided to open from now on his chateau to the curious ones. Finally, his farm-herbalist-menagerie ... Because Chateau Jean Faure is nothing ostentatious. Sober buildings surrounded by the vineyard and in between, the farm ‘guards’, a rooster, chickens, pigeons, bees, horses, soon alpacas, wooden cabins, a permaculture vegetable garden and a herbalist's shop. “We opened in July and already 1,300 visitors have come. 70% of the visit is spent outdoors,” says Olivier Decelle, before adding “the future is not in an architectural concept but in a concept of life”. The guardian of the place has settled down here.

Bénédicte Chapard