DOMAINE BRETON is an winery just north of the township (‘commune’) of Restigné in the Bourgueil region of the Loire Valley, France. The main wines are the Chinon AOC and Bourgueil AOC, with a little white (sparkling) Vouvray too.
OWNERS | Pierre Breton who is from a winegrowing family in Bourgueil and his wife Catherine who is from Vouvray. Pierre began on his own in 1982, with vines in Bourgueil and was joined in 1990 by Catherine. See La Dive Bouteille.
VINEYARDS | 1999 Jumped from 13ha of vines to around 16ha across 25-30 parcels with 5ha in Restigné (Bourgueil AOC), 1.5ha in Benais (Bourgueil AOC),1.5ha in Bourgueil (Bourgueil AOC) including the Clos Sénéchal single vineyard, 6ha in the south of the commune of Beaumont (Chinon AOC):
VITICULTURE | Budwood At replanting massale cuttings rather than clones are used for re-planting. Rootstocks 3009C is now favoured, with very little SO4 left, and FerCal on the chalkier soils. Vine density & pruning 5,500 vines/ha planted 2.0 metres rows x 1.0 metres vines (the AC minimum is 4,500vines/ha). Pruning must be single guyot under AC law.
CERTIFICATION | 1991 The vines began conversion to organic status in 1991 (Ecocert France). The owners decided to go organic having read an article on indigenous yeast by Philippe Pacalet which was published by Nature et Progrès. / 1994 First vintage with full organic certification. / 2019 Still certified organic.
BIODYNAMICS | Catherine and Pierre did some biodynamic trials for 2 seasons in the mid-1990s using preparations bought from Alsace. Catherine told me by ‘phone on Thursday afternoon 13 Nov 2003 that as their vines are very morcellated it was hard to work to the Biodynamic calendar adding that, although biodynamics opens one’s mind it is quite restrictive. She also felt the biodynamic sprays encouraged more weed growth.
WHITE SPARKLING WINES
VOUVRAY AOC PETILLANT NATUREL, LA MOUSTILLANT | 2009 ‘The Pétillant Naturel stems from a natural fermentation in bottle, no dosage or filtration. Somewhere between cider and perry with delicate honey notes, gently effervescent. Half way down the bottle the wine becomes cloudy and vinous and finally full of skin extract,’ says Doug Wregg of Les Caves de Pyrène (price list, July 2011).
VOUVRAY AOC, NV LA DILETTANTE / Traditional method sparkling wine. Easy, bit simple maybe at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
PINK SPARKLING WINES
TOURAINE ROSE AOC PETILLANT NATUREL | 2010 Grolleau.
PIERRES ROUSSES | Chenin Blanc.
VOUVRAY SEC, LA DILETTANTE / 2015 Nice round honey, light but well controlled at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
BOURGUEIL ROSE SEC, LA RITOURNELLA | Cabernet Franc.
ROSE DE LOIRE |
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, LA DILETTANTE | 2014 Gravel soil. 1970s vines. Carbonic maceration, Beaujolais style, early-bottled. / 2014 Carbonic maceration. Nice, bit modernist at the Real Wine Fair 2016. / 2015 Carbonic maceration. Nice CF nose, light and fluid at the Real Wine Fair 2016.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, AVIS DE VIN FORT | 2015 Cabernet Franc. A clairet style. Short time in oak.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, NUITS D’IVRESSE | From Cabernet Franc on clay limestone soils, in Benais and Restignié.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, TRINCH! | Trinch! French term for the sound made when clinking glasses together. From young vines. / 2007 Bubblegum fruit, some carbon dioxide, nice CF licorice flavours at Wholefoods High St Kensington on Thursday 9th October 2008. / 2015 Destemmed. Bit dumb as only just bottled at the Real Wine Fair 2016.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, LES GALICHETS | From Cabernet Franc on a plateau of gravels or ‘galichets’ in Restigné near Catherine and Pierre’s house.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, FRANC DE PIED | From a small plot of ungrafted vines near the above-mentioned Les Galichets plot.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, CLOS SENECHAL | From the 1.4ha Clos Sénéchal in Benais on clay-limestone and some tuffera. Overlooks the above-mentioned Les Galichets plot.
BOURGUEIL ROUGE AOC, LES PERRIERES | Perrières is the estate’s top wine. From 1940s vines on sloping clay limestone soils over finer sandy (lighter) clay elements.
CHINON ROUGE AOC, BEAUMONT | The estate’s main Chinon cuvée. A blend from parcels in Beaumont en Véron (clay limestone slopes).
CHINON ROUGE AOC, LES PICASSES | The owners added a Chinon wine to the complement their Bourgueil wines by renting vineyards in Les Picasses in the township of Beaumont-en-Véron until 2004, after which the owner took the vines back.
CHINON ROUGE AOC, SAINT LOUANS | The flagship Chinon. From plots of sloping clay-limestone. Fermented in wooden vats, barrel-aged.
Domaine Catherine & Pierre Breton, Les Galichets, 8 rue du Peu Muleau, F-37140 Restigné (Indre et Loire), France / Tel+33 (0)18.104.22.168.41 / www.domainebreton.net
Real Wine Fair 2016, Tobacco Dock, London, 17-18th April 2016.
Real Wine Fair 2017, Tobacco Dock, London, 7-8th May 2017.
Isabelle Legeron MW, Natural Wine, An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines grown naturally (2014, Cico Books, London & New York), p140.