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N°157

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David Liorit chases the stars

30/03/2017

David Liorit was born under a lucky star. In 1982 in Libourne. Nothing more to say, destiny is sometimes teasing, playing with obvious facts. Bacchus, Epicure are his godfathers. His history is written in the vineyard. Aged 35, he is the director of Château Petit Val, consultant and wine grower in Cahors. The rumour says he is a ‘rising star’. A star hunter, discovering new constellations.

David Liorit

Keen mind, straight talk, plenty of energy, David Liorit made himself a name in Saint-Emilion. Ten years to assert himself has the man of the new deal. Trained enologist, after a few stays in Spain and the South of France, at the age of 23 he was appointed technical manager of Château Beauséjour in Montagne-Saint-Emilion, consulted by Stéphane Derenoncourt : “During four years, I learnt his methods, his gestures. I got immersed in a new learning, in the field this time, made of good sense and environmental protection”. Then at 27, general manager of Château Belle Assise in Saint-Émilion (J.-P. Beltoise group, former F1 pilot).

Meanwhile he formed a partnership with his schoolmate Arnaud Bladinière in Cahors for 10 hectares planted with Malbec. Together they closely watch after the vineyard, taste each and every plot, study the terroir, set up strict requirements, and draw a new constellation. Called “Mas des Etoiles” [home for the stars] because “here the sky is pollution-free, people come on our lands to watch the Milky Way”, David states. In the glass he tries to express the taste of fresh fruits, the spices, freshness, a more modern and drinkable wine, differing from the image of a massive Cahors. And stars started falling without delay: gold medal of the Malbec contest in 2009, Best Winegrower of the Year by RVF … “We start selling wines all over the world, in Quebec, in Australia … We are growing.”

The story continues. He started offering his advices. Investors placed their trust in him. Jean-Louis Alloin, a businessman from Lyon, asked him for help to choose an estate. David proposed Château Petit Val, a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, a sleeping beauty in a valley with a sandy-gravelly soil. And awakened the Sleeping Vines, softly and delicately in the vineyard but with determination in the cellar. He acts by instinct, does not choose the easiest way. He praises for living soils, ploughs some plots with a horse, grows rye and barley between the rows, plants Malbec instead of Petit Verdot, tries cold pre-fermentations, and sets white paperboards in every room for the whole team. “I love brainstormings, let everyone express his ideas. During vinification I sometimes play Chopin, sometimes Coldplay, it gives energy, something always comes up …”.

Since 2015, thanks to the addition of six hectares of neighbouring plots, the chateau benefits from clay and limestone soils that enabled to plant Cabernet Franc. The grape variety he prefers. He would like to make a mineral, spell-binding, palatable grand wine. But above all “a wine with a soul, for pleasure, that opens discussions, a wine that comes from the heart”. Both shy and rock’n’roll, the Princess gets back on track, and even breaks free with Provence-like rosé and soon a white. Once again, he surprises. It will be Riesling! A discreet reference to Olivia Allouin’s Alsatian origins. A new challenge on a few acres for a new chapter. Fear for writer’s block? It is said that pioneers do not suffer such syndroms … neither do the star hunters!

Bénédicte Chapard