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From Soils, Come Wine
From Soils, Come Wine
Nov 23, 2021

From Soils, Come Wine

The story of Le Fief Noir

It’s the early 2000s in Corsica and Dominique Sirot isn’t happy.

After studying wine extensively in Bordeaux and becoming a passionate, talented oenologue, Dominique thought he would be fulfilled. After all, he had a wonderful job making wine at a large winery in beautiful Corsica. They gave him and his friend Alexi autonomy to create what they wanted with the wines. He had resources and stability.

Dominique, a Dry Farm Wines Natural Grower who farms and manages Fief Noir

But something didn’t feel right.

Where was the natural influence? Where was the soil, the terroir?

Dominique needed to escape the commercial wine business and commit himself to the Earth.

He found that commercial wines suffered from too much human intervention. Additives, filtration, machine harvesting — these were all things Dominique learned in school. But, he wasn’t finding a deeper level in the wines. Soul. Honesty. These were the elements he was after.

With this in mind, Dominique and Alexi set out to find the perfect plot of land to start their own winery. They toured all over France, finally settling on a beautiful patch of fertile land in Anjou, which resides in the Loire Valley of northwest France.

And so, in 2014, Le Fief Noir was founded. “Fief” means plot of land, and “Noir” is the French word for black, an ode to the dark, black schist rock that makes up the unique soils of the region.

It was the special Anjou soils that drew him to this land. Out of this blackened rocky earth grow healthy vines full of life and nutrients. Deep roots and big leaves help the vines flourish in harsh Loire Valley conditions, known for intense frosts and blustery winter conditions that can often stay around until Spring.

The grapes express this struggle against Nature. It is said that the structure of the soils becomes the structure of the wine. If that’s the case, you can taste the dark, mineral structure of Anjou’s mineral rich earth in Dominique’s wines.

The Dry Farm Wines Wine Team visits Fief Noir’s Natural Vineyard

Local varietals like the red Grolleau and the white Chenin Blanc grow better than other imported varietals, so Dominique plants them on his roughly 30 different plots. Every plot tells a unique story — sun exposure, wind strength, mineral composition, and animal life all change from plot to plot. This is what makes up the terroir, and Dominique is addicted to giving it a chance to express itself in the glass.

In fact, from the moment the grapes are harvested to the moment you pour a sip of wine from Fief Noir, Dominique tries to do as little as possible. At first, this was tough — after all, he was trained to interfere with tools and guide the wines as best he could.

But now, he’s learned better. The only real way to tell the story of terroir — the story of the schist soils of Anjou — is by letting Nature take its course.

He harvests all his grapes by hand, uses light filtration just to remove bugs and big particles, and ferments in flavorless vessels like stainless steel and neutral oak. He’s trying to remove the human interference at every turn.

You’ll be amazed at how you can taste the purity.

His reds have a juicy drinkability that transmits the rocky earth in a refreshing way. Crushed berries blend with floral aromatics to create a lovely mouthfeel.

His whites are some of the most focused, linear whites you’ll find — salty, crisp, and aromatically delectable. Perfect for sipping alone or with seafood.

Ultimately, the principle behind Le Fier Noir extends far beyond wine. It teaches us to be humble. In the face of intense frost, seasonal fluctuations, and varying terroir conditions, Dominique trusts Nature. He releases his innate human desire to control things and lets the wines develop as they wish.

Funny how they turn out deliciously every time.

Thank you, Dominique, Alexi, and your families for creating beautiful, humble stories with every bottle.