JEAN-LUC SYLVAIN. A COOPER IN SAINT DENIS DE PILE AND WINEMAKER AT CHÂTEAU LA PERRIÈRE, LUSSAC SAINT-EMILION
When in 1996, Jean-Luc SYLVAIN got the title of “craftsman of the year”, he was not expecting it. That award is to him a real turning point. Straight away, the title makes his business more famous. But it is indeed with the Saint-Emilion wines that the love story started. As with great wines, they get better over time: “Even though we sell barrels throughout the world, my display window is here. We work with the Saint-Emilion winemakers, hand in hand”.
To produce the best barrels, the craftsman leaves nothing to chance: “I dedicate time to research, and I work with oenologists, in particular on Merlot. This cépage needs aromas but not too much, you have to give time for the fineness to develop, too many wood tannins would harm it”. The search for perfection led Jean-Luc SYLVAIN to get interested in very old French oak trees, of 350 years of age. Since 2009, he has specialized in their acquisition: “the age gives a different taste and more sweetness to the wine”.
When nectar is this sensitive to its environment, the choice of the barrel seems crucial. This leads the Châteaux to work with more than one provider. Jean-Luc SYLVAIN understands this approach: “the winemaker endured “the vintage effect”: one year their wine will go perfectly with some barrels, and the next vintage with some others. Nature is ever-changing, and the multiplication of producers divides the risk”.