“This domaine, I believe, turns out some of the best red wines in the entire Loire Valley. Overlook them to your disadvantage.”
Chris Kissack - The Winedoctor, France
Yannick Amirault is located on the right bank of the River Loire, overlooking the village of Bourgueil. Established in 1936, it has constantly developed so as to support meticulous organic vine-growing methods. Yannick and Benoit produce their cuvées in their own vineyard crafting authentic and distinctive wines (no merchant activity, no trade of wine in bulk). The property lays around 20 hectares, 2/3 in Bourgueil and 1/3 in Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil. In order to keep a total control of the vines, the estate decided not to get bigger. The 2 appellations are 100% implanted in the old river bed of the Loire. Although the estate is on the hill’s feet of Bourgueil, the 25 different plots of vines favour the diversity of the terroir.
REINVENTING CABERNET FRANC
Above the village, sands and gravels; at the hill’s feet, limestone. It is also where the estate ages its wines in great chalk cellars. The entire vineyard is grown organically, certified by Ecocert. There is no terroir without the intervention of mankind, where Yannick looks after his vines as if it were a garden through the years. Grass is grown between vine rows and the gravel land is ploughed as it is more sensitive to a lack of water. All the wine is made using 100% Cabernet Franc. The efforts are naturally directed on controlling excessive vigour of the vine in order to bring the plant in a good balance between vegetation and fruit: buds and green leaves cleaning.
The estate anticipates its direct actions on the vines through the lunar calendar. Despite weather variation bringing a fragile environment, their craft leaves nothing to chance. During harvest, after destemming in the cellar, first wines ferment in open tanks whereas each cru is vinified in a cone wooden barrel for long maceration up to 6 weeks. Extraction is the softest possible, giving flavours to natural infusion/diffusion. Yannick always practises foot pigeage but only in aqueuse phase (when there is low alcohol so the tannin is not extracted). Remontage is only done in the years of great maturity in order to avoid rusticity in the wines. 100% of the bottles come from the first wine press, while the second wine press are never kept even in a low yield year. The use of sulfates is now moderate, and the wines are aged between 10 to 30 months depending on the year in order to soften the naturally high tannin of the cabernet franc.
“As in all great one single grape variety appellation, we leave each cru to express themselves through their named range. Each parcel means a different soil, sun and field exposure, unique vegetation.”