Frédéric Brochet, founder and dynamic, driving force of Ampelidae
I have covered Ampelidae in Haut-Poitou on several occasions on Les 5 du Vin, so time for an update as the story has now moved on. Sadly it now includes Les 5 du Vin’s midwife – Pierre-Jacques Druet.
My initial post was during the harvest of 2013 and covered the decidedly fraught negotiations with the rapidly sinking Cave de Haut-Poitou. At the end of March 2014 Ampelidae took over the bankrupt co-operative. Ampelidae has taken over one of the co-op’s old premises in Neuville-de-Poitou (see below) and some equipment from the other facility in Neuville has been moved to Ampelidae’s winery facility at Château des Roches.
Late September 2013: The shop + one of the winery facilities for the co-op
6th October 2016: same premises under the Ampelidae colours
Late September 2013 the closed main winery of the Cave du Haut Poitou
(above and below)
6th October 2016: demolition of winery to make way
for new Lidl supermarket and other shops
Existing Lidl shop opposite new site
In addition to absorbing the bankrupt Cave de Haut-Poitou and many of its members, this year Ampelidae has moved into Touraine taking over Pierre-Jacques Druet’s bankrupt domaine in Benais (Appellation Bourgueil) as well as also taking over from bankruptcy the Touraine and Montlouis holdings of the Clos du Porteau based in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher (Aynard de Clermont-Tonnerre family). Ampelidae will be making the 2016s at both of these properties. Ampelidae also makes the wine for Levin, which is owned by UK hotelier and restaurateur David Levin, close to Montrichard (Touraine).
The disappearance of the highly reputed Pierre-Jacques Druet as a vigneron is particularly poignant as it was his singular Bourgueil Rosé that gave the impetus to the creation of Les 5 du Vin in 2010 during a lunch in the press office at the Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers – a sad end for a very talented producer but poor businessman.
Some of the stock of Druet’s Bourgueil
When Ampelidae took over Druet they inherited 80,000 bottles of Bourgueil of various vintages. Last Thursday I tasted several of Pierre-Jacques’ Bourgueils and overall I was disappointed as they were not at the level that I have always associated with Pierre-Jacques’ wines.
I was not really impressed by the entry level 2007 Cents Boisselées from a difficult vintage and also the 2000 Grand Mont – again not the easiest vintage – unlike Bordeaux – due to rain during the vintage. But most disappointing was the 2010 Vaumoreau, whose initial attractive fruit soon disappeared into a dry finish. The Vaumoreau has only just been bottled, so perhaps it has lost some of its fruit during the long delay before bottling – nearly six years after the vintage. Perhaps Druet just couldn’t afford to bottle this wine. I can only hope that the 2010 Vaumoreau is suffering from bottle shock following its recent bottling. Here’s hoping!
It is Brochet’s ambition to at least restore Druet’s Bourgueils to their past glories and aim to go beyond this. This is perhaps Frédéric’s most high profile challenge to date!