Naturally Bourgueil

Salon des Vins d’Ici: dimanche le 2 juin@Bourgueil

Almost to the day a year on after our very successful visit by Les 5 du Vin to Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, I have just spent a very agreeable weekend in Bourgueil. This time the occasion was the Salon des Vins d’Ici, which also included Les Vins du Coin and Les Angevins. In all 66 producers were expected but as there were a few no-shows, this came down to around 60.

The Salon was held in Les Halles in the centre of the town and was organised by Pierre Breton, who sensibly limited each vigneron to showing just three wines. In all I spent just under six hours tasting – managing to get round almost all the producers.

My most pleasant surprise was the marked improvement in the quality of the wines from Jean-Christophe Garnier. I tasted his 2011 La Roche Bézignon – 100% Chenin. Although it has some oxidative notes and hint of a sherry style was much cleaner and precise than Garnier’s wines that I have tasted in the past. My impression from the Salon des Vins d’Ici as well as this year’s RAW and Real Wine Fairs in London is that, at least in the Loire, there are now substantially fewer off-the-wall undrinkable wines in the natural wine movement.

Fiona Beeston


Western part of Chinon with the Clos des Capucins.

Ex-wine journalist Fiona Beeston was showing the 2011, her first vintage from Le Clos des Capucins in Chinon. This small Clos lies just to the west of the château de Chinon. Fiona bought it from Baudry-Dutour who had purchased it when they bought several parcels of vines in Saint-Louans, the western suburb of Chinon. Initially Christophe Baudry and Jean-Martin Dutour planned to turn the building associated with the Clos into a visitors’ centre. However, once they had acquired Château de la Grille, they decided to develop this site instead and dispose of the Clos.

Fiona is delighted with her vineyard and has sought the advice of Charles Joguet. Many years ago, Charles was one of the producers she profiled in The Wine Men. Charles has assured Fiona that Le Clos des Capucins is an excellent terroir and that she can’t go wrong. The 2011 is richly textured. At the moment the finish is quite tight and probably needs another couple of years in bottle to soften.  She also has an easy drinking 2012 Chinon from a hectare of vines to the north of Chinon that Pascal Lambert sold her. The cuvée is called ‘Fiona’s perfectly drinkable wine’, named after a favourite expression of her father’s.

A number of other 2012 reds I tasted showed bright red fruits and quite marked acidity.

I wrapped up my tasting with Eddy and Mileine Oosterlinck (Domaine Juchepie) finishing with their voluptuous and fine 2008 Passion Coteaux du Layon Faye d’Anjou – an impressive result from quite a difficult vintage.  I was not at all surprised that they told me they made no sweet wine in 2012 – « only some dry wine and a little bit of red ». Clearly Faye d’Anjou does not enjoy the same miraculous microclimate found in that part of the Quarts de Chaume owned by Domaine des Baumard!

Of course I stayed at the Café de la Promenade, where the vignerons celebrated the conclusion of their Salon well into the early hours of Monday.

Vignerons relaxing at the Café de la Promenade after a long day @the Salon. Frantz Saumon is lively form.
As darkness falls things start to hot up…


8 réflexions sur “Naturally Bourgueil

  1. Chalvin Eric

    Bonjour les amis,

    Ces 3 images ont ce quelque chose en plus qui vous transportent dans les lieux magiques où elles ont été prises.
    Casting, cadrage, ambiance, célèbrent la simplicité, l’humeur du moment, les rencontres autour ou après un verre…

    Continuons, c’est trop bon!



  2. La Café de la Promenade est un lieu magique. Content de retrouver Fiona B en vigneronne via ton article.
    Je reste très sceptique sur ces vins qu’un dit plus naturels que quoi ? Quand allons-nous abolir toutes ces sous-catégories débiles et ne parler que de types, d’âge, de lieux d’origine ou de cépages pour regrouper les vins ?


    1. Jim, this an interesting aspect. Is it science or just a rough estimate of yours? Are many producers of so-called “natural” wines smokers? Is the difference established?
      If this were the case / happened to be the case / be the case – you see I’m careful, there could be two explanations, at least.
      One would be physiological: smokers have got another perception of wine. I don’t say worse nor better, just different. But they are very constant in that difference and remain nevertheless reliable tasters of wine. It could explain why they are not disturbed by some apects we like less. I wrote “could”. Me for one, I love natural wines when they have enhanced fruit (Barral, Allemand …), due to the near absence of sulfites, those “fruit-killers”. I managed to bottle my last 3 wines with zero mg free sulfites as well (none), and just over 20 mg/l total sulf. But I hate the “off-odours” that often occur. I don’t mind the fizz, though.
      One would be psychological. There are many “alternative” people in that category of colleagues. And amongst alternative people, you’ll definitely encounter more smokers than in their “bourgeois” peers. This is somehow unlogical, as tobacco is an industry (even the one you buy to make your own cigarettes) and on top of that, they incorporate lots of chemicals and additives in their stuff. But still. For the same token, members of the psychiatric community, patients and medics or staff altogether, often are smokers too. Yet, they should know better.
      To make my point clear: (i) smokers don’t care about some gustatory aspects we dislike or (ii) as members of the alternative folk, they tend to smoke more (no relationship with being a wine-maker, let alone a natural wine-maker”).
      Can we agree ?


      1. Luc. My comment was based on observation rather than on statistical research. Certainly many of the vignerons onbSunday night were smokers. I can’t say whether this is a higher proportion than you would find amongst other producers, however you chose to classify them.

        Is smoking perhaps a natural human condition?


  3. Bonjour , en effet très bonnes dégustations ; de plus le café de la Promenade une pure merveille en gastronomie et très bonne cave

    Pensez à venir dormir chez nous , nous sommes des chambres d’hôtes


Votre commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:


Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Connexion à %s

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur la façon dont les données de vos commentaires sont traitées.