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Loire Valley

Château de la BONNELIÈRE


Marc Plouzeau is dedicated to finding the finest sites in Chinon, farming them organically, and producing wines which display the essence of their terroir.


Over a thousand years ago the inhabitants of Chinon needed stone. Lots of stone. They had plans, a grand Chateau, fortifications to protect their homes, monuments to their heroes. The material they needed was on hand, all they had to do was dig, and dig they did, leaving tremendous caves cut into the rock that lies beneath their town. These caves, cool, dark and damp, have long found a purpose as wine cellars. In one such cellar we find Marc Plouzeau and the terrific wines of Château de la Bonnelière.

Marc’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 his single soil and single parcel wines which I found most exciting.

Marc grows two varieties, Chenin Blanc in white, Cabernet Franc in red. He farms three basic soil types, 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.

Current Vintages

100% Chenin grown on chalky clay. Great length and intensity, one can feel the chalk in its subtle grip. Good texture, peach and honeysuckle alongside citrus fruit. VG value.
From vineyards close to the river on alluvial sand rich in pebbles. Aged for six months in tank. A fruity, lighter wine ideal for drinking within its first five years. When young Les Gallets is delicious chilled.
This parcel surrounds the Château itself. 35-year-old vines planted on clay and limestone, giving elegant, concentrated wines which age well, up to ten years in a good vintage. Aged 12 months in Demi-Muids.
50-year-old vines growing on flint, clay and limestone producing wines which combine deep power with fine tannins and complex fruit. Aged for 18 months in Demi-Muid and tank.
40-year-old vines in a single 1Ha block known for giving dark fruited, rich and complex wines which need time in bottle. No added Sulphur.

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