CLOS DES PRINCE, THE YOUNG GUARD OF SAINT-EMILION
IT IS A DETERMINED YOUNG MAN WHO SAW HIS WINES REACH THE FINAL OF THE 2015 COUPE DES CRUS SAINT-EMILION, IN THE GRAND CRU CATEGORY.
Nicolas Prince is the young winemaker at Château Clos des Prince. Since 2008, he has been in-charge of the family estate. He talks about his 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages, which are, for him, learning years.
NICOLAS PRINCE, THE MAKING OF A WINEMAKER
Prince Nicolas is a young focused winemaker. Since 2000 – when his family bought the estate – the almost thirty-year-old has continued to observe its terroir to grasp all the subtleties. “the year 2000 was a year with wonderful grapes. I was 14. Starting there was quite magical”. Enough to encourage him to follow a general curriculum before starting studying viticulture and oenology. Young graduate, he took the plunge in 2008 to invest himself 100% in the estate.
The years 2010, 2011 and 2012, competing in the 2015 Coupe des Crus, are the vintages which made him gain valuable experience: “these were founding years, I laid some foundations – there were already in place – and I brought my personal touch”. To cite one example, Nicolas Prince likes to make wine at slightly lower temperatures than those normally used.
CLOS DES PRINCE, 2010, 2011 AND 2012
In the Saint Emilion appellations, the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 converge on one point: their difference. The challenge of the Coupe des Crus in 2015 was to present three high-quality wines, despite opposite weather conditions. For Nicolas Prince, the key to consistency is the detailed observation of the vintage: “we pay attention to the climate, the growth of the vegetation and maturation,
to ultimately choose the most suitable date for harvest”. At Clos des Prince, the grapes are harvested in crates and pass three sorting tables. Then vinification is done parcel by parcel, “each parcel has a tank that is used year after year. This allows us to refine our blends and to include in Clos des Prince, the first wine of the estate, the best we have every year”.».
THE VALUES OF THE YOUNG WINEMAKER
Since 2008, Nicolas Prince has developed his expertise, but he strongly relies on well rooted convictions: “My philosophy is respect for the environment, from the plant to the consumer”. This requires drastic limitation of outside products in the vineyard, “to allow full expression of the plant”. Throughout the year, the young winemaker also seeks to enhance the vine through “green jobs, rigorous early leaf removal and late stripping if necessary, depending on the behavior of the grapes”.
In winter, Nicolas Prince especially follows the soil, in summer, he is very attentive to the plant, “the terroir comprises of a large number of elements: man, plant, cultivation practices, climate and soil “. All those efforts to sustain the soil have a purpose: “to get a magnificent wine” and develop every year a silky, fruity and aromatic Clos des Prince, “a really interesting wine to discover”.