This is an estate you probably won't have heard about, and for my own wallet I would prefer that it doesn't come too much into the light: As soon as a good vintner begins to be known, his prices tend to soar... Back in 2005, B. and I had purchased a case of white Valencay from them, a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon. We happened to begin to drink these bottles last winter and in spite of the fact that I had bought wine from them on several occasions before that purchase, that was an awakening for both of us. Bottle after bottle, the wine was a pleasure, it was balanced, harmonious, with that savoury creamy side on the palate. So this spring, I dropped there again, bought a case of their white Valencay 2006 (priced a bit over 3 Euro) and bought a bottle of their red Valencay (same price), a blend of Pinot Noir-Gamay-Cot just for a try. Back in Paris, This single bottle of red Valencay was again a good surprise: the wine was fruity, delicate and has this thin tannic structure that you find in a well made Pinot Noir. And there was something authentic and, well yes... natural, in this wine. Thinking about this wine, I thought it was maybe unfiltered, but later learned from the owner André Fouassier that a long stay on the lees was probably why this mouth.
We drive to another vineyard, "Le Cep" (Sauvignon also). Not many grapes on the vines, just about 50 hectoliter/hectare probably this year, maybe less. The pruning, the fact these are old vines, and the grass is why. The next time (too rainy today), he wants to show me his Chabris vineyard.
Back on the surface, we taste several vats:
__1 Sauvignon 2006. From one of these red metal vats. From a silex-soil vineyard. Clear in the glass. Very aromatic and richness in the mouth. Beautiful, I recognize this wine...He is a little annoyed because one day he thinks it could be considered too atypical by the Appellation tasters.
__2 Sauvignon 2006. Another vat and plot (clay soil). Samely a beautiful, generous mouth.
__3 Sauvignon 2006. Another vat. Very different nose: some truffles, chanterelle also maybe. Here, he says, he made a skin maceration as a try.
__4 Sauvignon 2006. Other vat with a shorter skin maceration.
__5 Sauvignon 2006.Other try with skin maceration. Little less truffle on the nose, more refined. Some passion fruit and mango side. Very onctuous, creamy mouth.
__6 Sauvignon 2006. A special terroir here: there was no skin maceration here but it tastes as if. This is because of the soil characteristics. Very onctuous.
__7 White Valencay 2006. To be precise, this is 80% of the final blend. He made a mini-blend in a bottle and we taste the bottle. There's about 8% of Chardonnay here. I love that, I recognize the white Valencay.
__8 Chardonnay 2006. The Chard that will be part of the Valencay blend. Very particular. Very complex and beautiful nose. He says that the Appellation controlers saw some oidium in his Chardonnay vineyard and said he shouldn't put it in the blend. That's ridiculous. A little oidium on a few vines doesn't make a bad wine. On the opposite, this wine has a very nice mouth and even with its 10% or 8% share in the blend, it will definitely have a positive role.
__9 Chardonnay 2006. A guess, he said first. This wine is different and smells dry fruits and raisins. It was at 15,8 potential. Nice sucrosity. The wine stopped and found his place. It will not be part of the Valencay blend though, and he may make a special cuvée of it.
__10 Gamay. Resin vat. Fresh, morello cherry. Very nice already.
__11 Pinot Noir 2006. Lightly turbid. That's alive... He says that some object for the light oxydative side here, when there's nothing wrong to have a little oxydation in a wine. His father joins us and tastes the Pinot Noir himself (picture above), he also likes it. This vat of Pinot Noir will be part of the red Valencay blend.
__12 Cot 2006, from a cement vat. His Cot vines come from massal selections. This one will also be part of the red blend (Valencay). Very beautiful nose. Smells like clafoutis, this cake with morello cherries cooked inside. Many other aromas that I can't name. Another surprise here: The Cot is often too tannic and harsh, especially so young. He explains that he adapred the vinification to avoid this harsh side of the Cot and looked for the fruit. Non destemmed. For reds, it depends of the milesimes. What plays a role in his work is also that he works with presses (he has 5 presses) which are quite old (some would say obsolete) and he is obliged to press several times, carefully, because they are not as precise as the modern pneumatic ones, and the juice from each of these successive presses are often stored separately, the last press in a given batch being the most tannic, he thus can check different evolutions and add, or not add this or that wine.
The estate's wines are Valencay Rouge (red), Valencay Blanc (white), Valencay Rosé (pink), a Touraine Cot and a "Methode Traditionelle" sparkling, plus additional cuvées depending of the millesimes, made with wines that evolved in a special way (he has so many vats) and that he finds more interesting to be bottled alone. The price for his Valencay and Touraine wines is about 3,5 Euro and the sparkling costs 5 Euro.
This was a great visit...