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Domaine de la Bonnelière

Marc Plouzeau makes single vineyard Chinon’s that show the diversity of the appellation

Marc Plouzeau’s extended family have owned Château de la Bonnelière since 1846, but it wasn’t until his father took over the property in 1979 that it returned completely to its historic purpose: wine. Marc took over in 1999 and continued his father’s work, converting the domaine to organic viticulture and buying parcels of land in Chinon’s best sites. He produces a large range of wines, white, red rose and sparkling, but it is his single parcel wines which I find most exciting.

Marc grows two varieties, Chenin Blanc in white, Cabernet Franc in red. He farms three basic soil types, clay-limestone, flint & gravel, doing everything by hand and working entirely organically. Fascinated by his land and the distinct stamp it imparts to his wines, he feels that only by working in this way can one expect to see each site’s character.

We have recently shipped three of his single vineyard wines, each distinct in character. We also have some of his remarkably good value sparkling wine, a favourite in my house and always in my fridge. 

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The Wines

Perles Fines Blanc NV
This traditional method sparkling wine is made from an interesting blend of 70% Chenin, 20% Chardonnay & 10% Cabernet Franc. Hand harvested, before gentle pressing and fermentation. Marc’s cool cellars favour sparkling wine, at a constant 11 degrees the fermentations are naturally slow. Very pale gold in colour, with a fine persistent mousse. Lively, refreshing palate, with citrus and brioche flavours, a good line of acidity and impressive length. Great value fizz perfect for parties! Just 2500 bottles produced.

Chinon Les Galets 2021
This wine comes from vines planted on alluvial sand and gravel on the southern bank of the river. These soils give a lighter, perfumed style which is perfect for early drinking. As with all Marc’s wines fermentation happens slowly in the cold cellars of his domaine. Natural yeasts are used. After fermentation the wine is given six months in vat before bottling with no filtration. Beautifully fruit forward, with pure red berries and rose petal, alongside cabernet franc’s hallmark pepper. Light bodied, fresh acidity – this is a lovely wine to drink a little chilled.

Chinon La Roche 2020
The vines here enjoy a sunny position, growing on slopes on the south bank of the River Vienne. This natural ripeness is countered by the structure given by limestone soils, a cool minerality, which adds lift and freshness to the generous fruit of the wines. The slow fermentation and 6 months ageing in tank captures the wine’s wonderfully expressive red fruits. Very finely structured, with satin tannins and a long, cool finish which blends crunchy red fruits with notes of wood smoke, spice and pepper

Chinon Chapelle 2019
Plot YB38, Marc likes to be precise. A single block of 50-year-old vines growing on fine wind blown sand over clay, in turn with Limestone beneath. This gives refined wines with pure fruit, layers of flavour and sweet tannins. Beautiful deep colour in the glass, rich red fruits and spice, relatively full bodied attack, yet has that limestone finesse, powerful fine tannins, and great length, fanning back out on the finish to show raspberry, cherry and violet.