Back to nature

“Our wines evolve with each generation. Each one is the reflection of a vintage, always processed differently. By emphasizing sustainable and healthier agriculture, we seek to express the terroir.”

Meet with Olivier & Xavier Canelli

The Canelli family has been passing down the art of winegrowing from father to son for 5 generations. Olivier and Xavier came back to the Château La Tour of Marignan AOC estate in 2003 and 2008. Brothers, with versatile skills they complement each other : one fines tunes the winemaking side, the other surveys and takes care of the vines.

“Our wines evolve with each generation. Each one is the reflexion of a vintage, always processed differently”. Organic winemakers since 1993, they are now moving towards biodynamics viticulture.

What does that mean in concrete terms ? “It’s an interesting biological approach. No lab, only natural and physical methods that go beyond the organic specifications : sulphur-free winemaking on harverst, copper reduced to a minimum, no fining… With an emphasize on sunstainable and healthiest agriculture possible, we seek the full expression of the terroir.” From the earth to the glass, Destination Léman definitly doesn’t lack of character.

The proximity of the Leman lake and the hillside relief have created the conditions for a blissful balance on the territory : summer and winter, the lake attenuates temperature variations, offering an ideal microclimate. On the side of Ballaison hill, the Domaine of La Tour of Marignan has an 11th century medieval cellar, the oldest in the two Savoy. From the 13th, monks has been developing the vineyard on the Mont de Boisy hill. The Destination Léman is one of the rare territories to have retained its winemaking activity. Since 1873, every Canelli generation has sought to fully express the character of the local terroir.

Olivier explains : “After the war, scarcity and productivism boosted synthetic products, with a heavy impact on nature. But before that, everybody cultivated organically : chemicals agriculture has been going on fo less than 100 years old. We chose to move towards organic winemaking early on, and are gradually making the transition to biodnamics viticulture. It feels natural and fascinating to be working with plants and the influence of the moon !”

From late November to mid-March, Xavier fully grasses over the estate and prunes the vines : mulching, disbudding, leaf thinning. “It takes a lot of observation to work on the natural. The techniques that work in one estate do not necessarily work on another. It is nature speaking to us ! The two brothers do not make big returns – about ten thousand bottles a year, mainly in direct sales and to restaurants – but that’not what matters.

Want to discover local terroir for yourself ? Let yourself be tempted by a gourmet electric bike tour in the heart of the vines and flavours. Feet on the ground, lake on the horizon.