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. Fermentations are natural, and due to Marc’s cool cellars at Chateau de la Bonnelière, take around five weeks, giving a gentle but intense tannin extraction. The wine then sees 12 months in 600l Demi-Muids and a further six months in vat, before bottling with no filtration. 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.
About the Domaine
Over a thousand years ago the inhabitants of Chinon needed stone. Lots of stone. They had plans, a grand château, 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.