Jacky Blot, the owner, receives us both to explain with passion about his wine, his way to work the vineyards and the geology in the area ...
He was already in the wine business before making wine himself, when he started 15 years ago (1988) with buying vineyards in Montlouis, where they were available and not very expensive yet. He now works on 40 hectares spread on Montlouis, Vouvray and Bourgueil Appellations. At the start he purchased 7 hectares in this small Montlouis wine region and he increased it progressively to 16 hectares, acquiring vineyards when the opportunity allowed it.
Harvest is manual here. He needs 30 persons during 1 month for each harvest. Cellars are dug in chalk (tuffeau) underground galleries, this clear and soft stone used in the past to build houses and chateaus in the region.
The casks are usually of the Burgundy type and also 1/2 Muid casks (500 liters). He bought at the beginning casks from Chateau Yquem and now buys from Tonnellerie Cadus. Only one cuvée in new casks each year. Casks are used for 10 years.
After debourbage (racking of the lees) the wine must goes directly into the casks in the 12°cellar for the fermentation.
According to Jacky Blot, the soil is quite homogenous in the area. Alluvion (river deposit) layers lying over turanian deeper soil. Montlouis Appellation exists only on this rocky soil. At the opposite , the Bourgueil soil is very diverse depending of where on the slope you look at. This difference shows in the wines. In Bourgueil, a 5-meter distance can mean a radically different soil and a samely different wine. That is not the case in Montlouis. Jacky Blot has all his vineyards plowed. Thus the vines did not suffer last year during the very hot and dry summer of the heat wave. This year, the problem is the counter-reaction in the vine of last year's hot weather : The vineyard produces 50% to 100% more grape volume compared to a normal year, which has to be carefully reduced through adequate farming.
__1__ Bourgueil Domaine de la Butte "Pied de la Butte" 2003. Sold out. Jacky Blot says that he never chaptalizes, doesn't either add external yeasts, and only very very low sulphur. He uses flat boxes to pick the grapes (to avoid risking crushing them).
__2__ Bourgueil Domaine de la Butte "Haut de la Butte" 2000. One year in big-volume casks, foudres. 13° . 20 Euro. 30/35 hectoliters/hectare yield.
__3__ Bourgueil Domaine de la Butte "Mi Pente" 2002 (mid slope). 13° 30 Euro. An aerial picture shows how the vineyard suffers at this level on the slope. Dense wine. Potential for long laying down, even more than the latter. Only 2/3 grams sulphur per hectoliter. Only possible with the big workforce used in the vineyard : Flat-box picking, meticulous harvest, clean tools and other costly details like that. Other places commonly put (which they are allowed to) 5/8 grams of sulphur per hectoliter.
Let's taste the whites now. Jacky Blot looks for maturity the most naturally as possible, he says. When 12° is not reached, grapes are used to make sparkling wine, not the still Montlouis.
__4__ Montlouis La Taille aux Loups Petillant Naturel (sparkling white). No dosage. 8 Euro. 12,5° . 200g for the fermentation in casks and 15 g in bottles. 2 years later, disgorging and just a little wine added. 1 g remains unfermented.
__5__ Montlouis Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Brut Tradition. 100 % chenin blanc. 1/2 dosage expedition. 6 Euro. Floral.
__6__ Vouvray sec (dry) 2003 "Les Caburoches" 7 Euro. Caburoches is the local name for these small vineyard houses (loge de vigne) used in the past for tools and shelter for the workers. 14°. doesnt taste like this high. Powerfull.
__7__ Montlouis Domaine de la Taille aux Loups "Cuvée Remus" 2003. Price in 2002 was 10 Euro. What we taste will be bottled next september. Very mineral.
__8__ Montlouis Domaine de la Taille aux Loups demi sec 2003 14°. 1° not fermented. 8 months in casks. 10 Euro.
__9__ Montlouis Moelleux. 16°. 20 Euro.
__10__ Montlouis Cuvée des Loups. Botrytis. "liquoreux". 12°. potential for 18/19°. The rest in residual sugar. Nice acidity. Fruits. Complexity with the years. 30 Euro.
__11__ Monlouis "Cuvée Romulus". Moelleux. Botrytis. Sampled from a cask. 23°. 50 Euro.
__12__ Montlouis "Romulus Plus". From a cask. 350 g residual sugar. A nectar. Superb. Grapes with the most advanced evolution picked for this one. More volume in 2003.
__13__"Voile" Vin de Table. Chenin Blanc. Left 10 years in casks with a veil at the surface. A bottle of this could stay opened a long time. No risk. No filtration. 15 Euro. No year written (but we know this one dates from 1992).