In founding the Association of the Holy Family in 1820, Bordeaux priest Pierre Bienvenu Noailles was inspired by the first Christian communities, consisting of men and women from all walks of life - lay people, nuns, and priests - to form a brotherhood showing the world how united a large evangelistic community can be, and with respect for diversity. Under the patronage of the Holy Family, the the founder's spiritual reference and source of inspiration, the Association encompasses apostolic sisters, contemplative sisters, members of the secular institute, lay people, and associated priests. It was only with the boom of the seventies that the nuns, conscious of the necessity to capitalise upon their wine-producing assets - a business activity hardly compatible with their way of life - took the decision to abandon management and entrust it to external stakeholders. This decision was to bear fruit and the vineyard of La Solitude, up to this point virtually isolated, would slowly begin to integrate into the alliance of the Graves du Nord production.
In 1993, a few months after having been solicited by the Sisters of la Sainte Famille, Olivier Bernard, who has overseen the Domaine de Chevalier since 1983, accepted the tenancy of the wine producing Domaine de la Solitude for a period of 40 years. Olivier Bernard comments: "The dialogue with the Sisters had been very positive. Beyond the very promising qualities of the terroir, I was very receptive to the spiritual dimension embedded in the area. We secured something that was more than a contract, an engagement on my behalf containing a notion of duty...Today, I can say that I am profoundly attached to this property". He adds: "The duration of the lease, as we wished, would open long term perspectives. We were thus able to make deep changes, without having to worry about immediate profitability, building for the future..."
"A great wine is always born from a great grape", as Olivier Bernard likes to say. Thanks to a long and meticulous conditioning, the vineyard of La Solitude delivers today, vintage after vintage, grapes rich in both colour and aroma, collected at perfect maturity. In the manner of Chevalier, this last characteristic rests on a very high degree of requirement in terms of sorting of the grape selection.
There is crisp yellow fruit here, a nice substance, and a moderate concentration. On the palate it has a yellow plum pithiness, with notes of white pepper and gentle spice. Attractive, but not the suppleness of some wines, nor the depth, and rather a solid style overall.