Domaine le Briseau & Nana, Vins et Cie. in Jasnières/Coteaux du Loir. - PDF

Domaine le Briseau Domaine le Briseau & Nana, Vins et Cie. in Jasnières/Coteaux du Loir. Jules Dressner with Natalie Gaubicher and Christian Chaussard. Photo by David Sink. Profile Christian Chaussard,

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Domaine le Briseau Domaine le Briseau & Nana, Vins et Cie. in Jasnières/Coteaux du Loir. Jules Dressner with Natalie Gaubicher and Christian Chaussard. Photo by David Sink. Profile Christian Chaussard, like the proverbial cat, was a man who lived several lives. After years spent in the public works sector, he focused on learning viticulture and oenology, then teaching those in a professional school while running his estate in Vouvray. A series of climactic hardships forced him to abandon his estate, so he also quit teaching and decided to be a winemaker in the new world. Before accomplishing that goal, he met Natalie Gaubicher, a Swiss actress with a oenologist and sommelier diploma, and they set out to find vines somewhere in France. Their search took them all around the country and to all wine regions. In 2002, they settled in the Jasnières/Coteaux-du-Loir area in northern Touraine. The area is 155 miles south-west of Paris between the cities of Le Mans and Tours, 28 miles north of Vouvray. The entirety of Jasnières covers 80 hectares of vines, and Coteaux-du-Loir about 200 hectares. The soils are largely all clay and silica over a subsoil of limestone. Domaine le Briseau was started with 4 hectares of vines planted mainly with Chenin Blanc and Pineau d'aunis. In 2005, Christian and Natalie started a small négoce called Nana, Vins & Cie, for which they buy grapes on the vines and harvest them with their team. These grapes are vinified the same way as the estate's in order to produce totally natural wines, and over the years have focused more and more on grapes from the Ardèche and Languedoc. By 2007, the estate had grown to 11 hectares. All vineyard work is done according to the principles of organic viticulture: no pesticides, insecticides or chemical fertilizers are used; nettle and horsetail decoctions are sprayed on the foliage; copper is used in modest quantity (less than 5kg/HA); the vines are plowed and grass allowed to grow in the rows. In 2006, the estate started its conversion to biodynamic principles. In September 2012, Christian was tragically killed in a tractor accident. His influence on the Loire valley and the natural wine movement as a whole (he was president of the AVN, Association des Vins Naturels for 5 years) has been crucial in shaping a new generation of forward thinking vignerons. We miss him, but take comfort in Natalie continuing her work at Le Briseau. Visits This visit to Domaine Le Briseau took place in July, 2013. Words by Jules Dressner, photos by Jules Dressner and John Kafarski. We began our visit in the parcel of Chenin Blanc that produces the Kharaktêr cuvée. The soils here are composed of limestone and flint. Recently, Natalie had to rip out some old vines that were in bad shape and dangerous to work with the tractor. If I replant, we will definitely make it parallel to the slope like the rest of the vines. With those old timers gone, the vines now average 45 years old. Just a little further up, we drove up to an unassuming path that is actually the geographical divide between Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir. On the CdL side, three 3 parcels of Pineau d'aunis grow on the same limestone and flint soils as Kharaktêr. The vines here are 35, total.75 ha and interestingly were much taller and developed than the Chenin we'd just seen. I didn't take any pictures of these for some reason, so you'll just have to take my word for it. From there, we jumped back into the LDM Mobile to visit the lieu-dit Le Briseau, the site the estate takes its name from. This was the first piece of land Christian and Natalie purchased after moving from Vouvray. The land represents about 4 ha, with 1.36 ha planted in Chenin Blanc. Le Briseau roughly translates to the shatterer , as the subsoil consists of a solid layer of flint that is near impossible to penetrate. Tractors and teals always break here. The superficial soils consist of heavy clay mixed with very rocky chunks of flint. The oldest vines are 60+ years old and produce an insanely low 8hl/h. In really good years this produces the Briseau Blanc, otherwise, as was the case in 2012, the wine is called Patapon Blanc. Le Briseau is a clos, and this peaceful atmosphere was where our late friend Christian Chaussard liked working the most. In bittersweet fashion, it was here that he had his fatal tractor accident last year. His ashes are buried at the foot of this shelter, just a few feet from the vines. It's comforting (and admittedly poetic) that Christian would be one with the very soils he loved so much. Heading back from Le Briseau, we drove back to Natalie's home to taste some currently bottled stuff. I could tell you all about how good everything tasted, but I'd much rather show you PICTURES OF NATALIE'S ADORABLE DOG GROVER!!! Our final vineyard visit was a quick walk to Le Briseau's other major lieu-dit, Les Mortiers. The soils here are heavy clay. Les Mortiers roughly translates to wet cement , because if it rains, the clay soils become impenetrable after drying up. A lot of impenetrable soils around these parts... In total, 4 hectares of Pineau d'aunis are planted here. We ended our tasting in Natalie's cellar, where we got to taste some stuff, including Kharaktêr 09, 11 and 12, as well as Les Mortiers 11. Before leaving, Grover made sure to mark his territory on the LDM mobile so other vigneron dogs wouldn't get it twisted. Wines Apart from biodynamic viticulture, the following harvesting and cellar practices are followed: -The harvest is done by hand in 10kg boxes. -The white grapes are pressed lightly and slowly. -Débourbage (first racking to separate solid matter from juice) takes place after 24 hours, then the must goes into barrels for the alcoholic fermentation (none of the barrels are new, but rather 4 to 8 years old.) Malolactic fermentation usually follows and is not stopped by any means. -Nothing is added: there is no chaptalization, no selected yeasts, no sulfur, no enzymes, no de-acidification, no fining. -There is one racking to get rid of the wine's gross lees, and then aging for several months, according to each cuvée. -There is a light filtration and addition of 2g/HL of sulfur at the time of bottling. -The red grapes are tread by foot before going into maceration vats. -Maceration occurs under the protection of CO2, in a semi-liquid stage (semi-carbonic maceration) and lasts 1 to 3 weeks. The musts are then pressed and go into barrels for their alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. Again, nothing is added to the wines and the same principles are used at bottling. Wines of Domaine le Briseau: Le Briseau: Coteaux-du-Loir AOC, shallow soil of gray clay over perrons (silex blocks weighing several tons), 15 to 30-year-old Chenin vines. Les Mortiers: Coteaux-du-Loir AOC, limestone plateau with gravelly clay, 25 to 30-year-old Pineau d'aunis, 15-year-old Côt and 15-year-old Gamay. Patapon: Coteaux-du-Loir AOC, a blend of several plots, all Pineau d'aunis of varying ages. Clos des Longues Vignes: Jasnières AOC, south exposure on mid-slope, shallow soil of red clay with silex, 10 to 15-year-old Chenin. Kharaktêr: Jasnières AOC, east and west exposure on high slope above Clos des Longues Vignes, shallow soil of eroded, coarse clay, 50-year-old Chenin.
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