Our New Organic Chinon

FRONT Chinon Closeaux

I was at an Organic wine show in France one day and starving, so I sat down with my lunch at a table where two gentlemen were discussing business.  After a while, in between bites of a lovely open-faced toast of luscious rillettes, we began to talk, and I discovered that one of them was a winemaker in Chinon.  Very quiet and unassuming, he reluctantly invited me to come taste his wine.  Wait, “wine”, singular?  Yes, he had only brought one, and if I didn’t want to come over, that was OK too.  Intrigued, I wandered over to his table, where he almost reluctantly poured me some of his decanted wine.  Wow, absolutely gorgeous.  Right then and there, I knew I’d found a new Chinon producer…

Chinon4

Thierry Landry has worked his family’s vines since his father’s retirement in 1995.  Originally only 3 hectares, the domaine has grown to a whopping 6.84 hectares (insert sarcasm- 16.9 acres).  He farms the land organically, testing the soils every 5 years to ensure their continued health.  His vineyards, aged between 8 and 43 years, are planted to 4500 vines per hectare, with tight spacing to make the plants work extra hard.  Yields are kept relatively low, varying depending on the age of the vines.

Chinon2

Once everything is manually harvested, the grapes make their way to his ancient chai.  His press dates from the 17th century, a real artifact of winemaking history, and he only uses indigenous yeasts to ferment the wines.  Only the high-end cuvee sees any oak, his other two wines are fermented in cement and fiberglass temperature-controlled vats where they sit for 4-6 months before being fined and lightly filtered.

Chinon8

His wines are beautiful, sultry expressions of the Cabernet Franc grape, with only a hint of the green edges that sometimes mark these reds from the Loire.  In fact, it’s that hint that adds complexity, balancing out the fruit with its lively notes and brilliant acidity.  These wines will make you believe in Chinon again (in case you ever doubted).

Thierry’s Cuvée des Closeaux is what really caught my attention.  Grown on a plateau of clay, limestone and siliceous soils, it is a beautiful, sultry expression of the Cabernet Franc grape, with only a hint of the green edges that sometimes mark these reds from the Loire. In fact, it’s that hint that adds complexity, balancing out the fruit with its lively notes and brilliant acidity.

And best of all… it’ll probably retail well under $20.  Score one for the good guys!

Cheers!

 

 

 

Speak Your Mind

*