Alexis Cornu - Winemaker

Alexis Cornu, the Château's wine maker and master in the art of wine production, ensures that every bottle boasts a flawless quality.  

Alexis has spent his entire life in the wine making industry, among his many accomplishments he worked in Bordeaux as the winemaker for Michel Roland's personal estate (Château Fontenil), Maison Ginestet, André Lurton) and in Australia for Rosemount Estates. He is well traveled, having studied in Germany and worked in Japan too. For the past 15 years he mastered Provence wines by heading up wine making at Château de Pibarnon in Bandol and at Ortas Caves de Rasteau in Southern Rhône.


Interview With Alexis

What is oenologist's job?

The origination of the word oenologist goes back to the Greek oenos (= wine) and loguos (= science). The oenologist is the wine specialist . Graduate of a master's degree in technical sciences of study and knowledge of wine, his functions range from the cultivation of grapes to the bottle of wine. Only 5 training centers deliver this diploma in France. 

What is your typical day?

There is no typical day for an oenologist. The key word is "adapt" . Adapt to what is happening in nature, vineyards and tanks. At this very moment, the 2017 harvest is coming to an end, so I am mainly concentrating on the analysis of the vines to select the most successful parcels. And then there will be time for wine tasting and blending . I also often accompany our customers to explain our terroirs, the characters of our wines and more broadly our philosophy of winemaking. In short, they are very varied days, which do not involve anything routine.

How is the 2017 harvest announced?

Each harvest is guided by the forces of nature and leads each year to the development of new wines. 2017 had rather unfavorable weather. A spring heat wave, followed by a heavy frost period and then a really dry summer. The harvest is certainly less bulky but of a very good quality . The maturity of the grape varieties has also been changed and it will be necessary to adapt to this characteristic cellar to make quality rosés dressed in a beautiful dress with a pale color.

What makes the color of the rosé wine of Provence?

The color of rosé de Provence is very important, much more than red or white. Indeed the dress of a rosé wine is the first thing that a consumer notices even before feeling it or drinking it. In terms of rosé wine from Provence , there are many nuances that are all referenced in the center of the wine of the Var . This pinkish color is defined by the natural pigments of the grapes. These are pigments called anthocyanins , which comes from the Greek, "The blue color of flowers" and these are concentrated in grape skins.

So how do you get a good rosé wine from Provence?

There are two possibilities. The first is to let the skins of grapes macerate in their juice and quickly pull the skins so that the color remains clear.

Another option is to keep the grapes fresh in the middle of the night . Harvesting at night, the colors are diffused much more slowly in the juice, so we manage to better control the color of our rosé wines. It also limits the oxidation phenomena that could alter the color. At Château de Berne we chose to harvest at night . Our teams meet at midnight in the heart of the vineyard to continue to harvest until 6am. 

What is your definition of a good rosé wine?

In general, a good wine is, first and foremost, a wine that you like, so it's a very subjective . In my opinion, a good wine is a surprising wine, because although after having tasted the same wines year after year, I still like to be surprised. It is a wine that has elegance, power, wealth, without being too demonstrative, and it will be pleasant to drink to accompany meals.