16 November 2017

Raw clay brick wall in our new cellars

The recent rehabilitation of the Domaine cellars was designed and carried out with the same demanding philosophy of respect for nature and a minimal use of energy.
Puligny suffers from a major handicap in winemaking : the water table is located less than a meter from the ground and any underground cellar will be flooded at the first sign of rain. It is therefore necessary to build these "above ground" cellars which must be both climatically passive, regardless of the outside temperatures but also retain the moisture necessary for proper ageing of the wines.
Which is why the Domaine Leflaive innovated using 100% natural material for the walls of its main cellar: a brick wall in raw clay. The properties of the clay are specific : not only it provide insulation and it's also an excellent regulator of ambient hygrometry.
This clay comes from the Vendée region, in the west of France, precisely between Niort and Poitiers. It is extracted directly from the ground at about 50cm, then dried in the open air, under a sheeted tunnel for 2 years before being sieved. Then follows the moulding stage where the bricks are made by compressing the earth slightly moistened by rain water. The construction of the wall is made directly by interlocking bricks like "Lego", without any additives, and every three metres a wooden post is there to ensure the stability of this wall.
The science and the knowledge of nature are also helping responsible and a sustainable economy.