Chinon

Wilfred Rousse Les Galuches 2014, Chinon, Loire Valley France

Drunk August 2015 @ Les Années 30, 78 Rue Haute Saint-Maurice, 37500 Chinon

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The winery

Housed in a former farm in a place called The Halbardière, domain Wilfrid Rousse's logo is a weathervane with a mermaid holding a fish in her hand. This figure once sat on the roofs of the medieval Château Des Places in Savigny-en-Véron, in the seventeenth century property of Admiral and Governor of Acadia Claude de Launay-Razilly. According to legend, nostalgic for his past conquests the Admiral would have put the weathervane on his property. This house would have welcomed several times King Charles VII. The Halbardière where the winery is located was one of the farms of the Castle.

The Domaine Wilfrid Rousse covers 19.5 hectares between the towns of Savigny-en-Véron, Beaumont-en-Véron and Chinon. It consists of 18 hectares planted in Cabernet Franc and half a hectare of Chenin.

The Estate was founded in 1987 and now uses organic farming. It is located on the right bank of the Vienne River west of Chinon. 

The wine

Grape variety: 100% Cabernet Franc - 7 hectares. Vines planted along the Loire on a sandy soil and gravel located in Savigny-en-Véron. Quantity: 60,000 bottles.

FermentedGrape.com tasting notes

This was much lighter in the glass than the 2010 Lambert Cabernet Franc I tried the same evening. 2014 was a good vintage for Cabernet Franc generally in the Loire but with low yields.

A nicely balanced wine with acidity and tannins in check with plenty of berry fruit aromas and on the palate with a certain freshness, though not green. Not to the same standard as the 2010 Lambert but still very good with some veal and nice to see the organic credentials of the winery. A very inexpensive wine and although tasting a little young it slipped down well (sub 10 euros to buy from the winery). 

Pascal et Béatrice Lambert cuvée Marie 2010 (Biodynamic), Chinon, Loire Valley, France

Drunk August 2015 @ Les Années 30, 78 Rue Haute Saint-Maurice, 37500 Chinon

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The winery

Domaine Lambert  "The Chesnaies" currently consists of 14 ha and is located in Cravant Coteaux . The town represents approximately 40% of the Chinon appellation the Loire Valley.

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The estate was founded in 1987 by Pascal and Béatrice Lambert. They converted to organic farming in the 2000's and in 2005, they received the "BioEcocert" certificate and also starting practicing biodynamics (the practice to create harmony between plants, soil, and its environment).

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Since 2012, the practice of biodynamics is certified under the charter Biodyvins (http://www.biodyvin.com/) which means:

  •  no chemical additions to the soil. 
  • Tillage underfoot in the spring and summer avoiding competition from the grass under the vines.
  • Between rows, different plants suited to the soil are planted annually. And mustard, oats, rapeseed, rye facilitate the capture of ground copper and sulphate and assist the development of nitrogenous components, essential to the fermentation of the grapes. 
  • The addition of compost consisting of fermentation products, tree bark (BRF), manure of cattle and horses, with wine effluents, biodynamic preparations, as well as lactic acid bacteria manufactured on the holding
  • Using leaf treatment plants (herbal tea nettle, nasturtium, yarrow, etc.)
  • Manual budding and limited trimming height to increase leaf surfaces.

The vineyard is planted to Cabernet Franc for red and rosé wines, and Chenin for white wine.

The vineyards of Chinon has several types of geological soils:

- The terroir of gravel: alluvial terraces from the right and left banks of the Vienne valley formed in the Quaternary era (less than 15,000 years), depending on the plot composed of gravel and silicas.

chinon clay limestone

- Clay-limestone: clay and limestone soil composed of sub Turonian chalk layers (limestone) deposited by the sea in the Mesozoic era (less than 90 million years). These soils occupy the hillsides and plateaus that dominate the valleys.

- Soil composed of flint and clay

Pickers from 2010 vintage

Pickers from 2010 vintage

The wine

In the autumn, the harvest is done manually. In the winery, the grapes are manually sorted on carpets and stalked berries are dumped into tanks using conveyor belt (not tap), which prevents violent crushing of the grapes. In vats, fermentation takes place slowly and naturally without adding yeast. The Lamberts believe that these natural methods  enhance the micro terroir and offer personalised wines.

The Cuvée Marie comes from the oldest Cabernet Franc vines (60-75 years) in the field on clay-siliceous and gravelly soils of Cravant-les-Coteaux. After a long maceration (35 days), the wines are aged in barrels for 24 months.

FermentedGrape.com tasting notes

The 2010 vintage in the Loire was very good and it was a pleasure to try this biodynamic Cabernet Franc from the Chinon area. An area of the Loire valley known for its red wines.

Cabernet Franc may not be my favourite grape but it ripens faster than Cabernet Sauvignon which makes it particularly suitable for wine making in the cooler Loire region.

This Cuvée Marie using vielles vignes (old vines) had an exceptional berry and spice nose. Unlike some Cabernet Francs, acidity and tannins were not excessive and in balance with the blackcurrant and blackberry fruit.  The palate was smooth with the just right of acidity to make it particularly enjoyable with food. The finish was long and interesting. 

As someone very interested these days in biodynamic and organic wine making, this Lambert Cuvée Marie didn't disappoint.