2010 Domaine de la Chevalerie "Bretêche" Bourgueil
Wine & Spirits
Bretêche is higher up the slope than Galichets (recommended below), its soils layering clay and limestone over tuffeau. The Caslot family ferments their wines without added yeast and ages them for two or more years in 400- to 500-liter oak casks. This is an ambitious wine, powerfully extracted, clean in its highlights of blue fruit, warm and ripe in the finish. It’s a mouthwatering, juicy pleasure, suited to aging or to decanting for roast meats.
Medium ruby. Floral aromas of redcurrant, graphite and tobacco. Supple on the attack, then juicy on the middle palate, offering attractive red berry and spice flavors. Finishes with soft, slightly dry tannins. An easy-drinking Cabernet Franc from a cooler site in the estate’s vast vineyards. (JP)
Certified organic since 2009, this domaine has been in the hands of the Caslot family since 1640, long before there was any other way of farming. Today, Stéphanie and her brother Emmanuel run the estate. There are over 80 acres of vines on the property; this wine is made with one of the two parcels that the family rents: Grand Mont to the west and Bretêche to the east. From the producer's notes: "Here the soils are relatively heavy with clay and limestone, without much sand, making for mouth-filling Bourgueils. These vineyards are always harvested below 40 hectoliters per hectare (the legal permitted maximum yield is 55 hl/ha). The wines are made with indigenous yeast and usually bottled without fining or filtration. They are deliciously meaty, dense, and astonishingly age-worthy Loire Cabernet Francs. Bretêche is an old word referring to a window or entrance to a fortified building, often above a gate to enable defenders to rain arrows or what have you upon attackers. It can also refer to entrances and exits in general, and this particular vineyard grows on the edge of the Restigné commune, where a road comes in. Pierre Caslot planted his parcel between 1988 and 1992 after his wife inherited the rights to rent it from her family. They farm just over 13 acres here. The soils are young limestone and a little clay, and this makes for a long, more linear wine than Galichets or Chevalerie, one with evident stony aromatics, lift and focus given by the limestone."