It was in 1968 that Noël Michelin acquired part of the “Mas des Pilons”. The 50 hectare estate has only ten hectares of hybrid vines. The rest of the property was scrubland and woods. The new owner began by clearing and replacing hybrids with approved plants. Then, in order to have an adapted production tool, he had a modern cellar built in 1973. Recognized by his peers, Noël Michelin was elected president of the winegrowers’ union in Les Baux after the transformation of the VDQS “Coteaux des Baux” into AOC “ hillsides of Aix-en-Provence ”.
From the start, healthy practices … A very favorable environment has made it possible to practice agrobiological cultivation since 1970, so long before the appearance of the organic movement. Having started his career in Indochina in rubber plantations, Noël Michelin then set up a coffee plantation in Cameroon. It was there that he first experienced the excess fertilizers and insecticides which were so much in vogue at the time.
Returning to France in 1964, he decided to return to healthier practices. Thus the Domaine des Terres Blanches has been cultivated since its origin without chemical fertilizers, synthetic insecticides or weedkillers.
Only the traditional Bordeaux mixture, sulfur, seaweed and plant essences are sprayed to stop a possible attack of mildew or powdery mildew.
From the fall, the interlines are grassed with a mixture of legumes and cereals, which, crushed with the branches, will be returned to the soil before summer, along with organic animal compost. In winter, the passage of sheep through the vines also allows biodiversity to be enriched
In 2012, the estate was bought by an Alsatian family, then by Christian Latouche, already owner of the Vallongue estate on the opposite side of the Alpilles. Today, the Terres Blanches estate is one of the greatest wines of Provence, present on the greatest tables around the world.
The whole area is located on foothills, mainly formed during the Wurmian period, from the fissile rocks that make up the Alpilles range. Within this colluvial formation, we can find intercalations of eolian silts and paleosols leached in calcium carbonate. On the edge of the estate, there are white limestone outcrops from the Eocene in the North-East, while in the South the succession of limestones and marls from the Cretaceous period emerge which form the Alpilles range.
The 3 plots to the south of the property, backing onto the Alpilles range, have a clay-silt-limestone texture. These deep and good porosity soils do not fear drought and are an ideal substrate for the cultivation of vines.
The soils located to the north of the property, in the direction of the Durance, are made up of colluvium based on sandy and stony alluvium. The shallow and deep horizons are sometimes separated by a layer of red clay. It is a particularly interesting terroir, given the large internal surface of the clays.