Grolleau, Vin de Pays du Val de Loire – 2015
Winter started with mild temperatures and low precipitation causing the blooming cycle to start early in the spring. March and April were unusually warm, leading to an early budbreak around April 10th. The growth slowed down in May as temperatures lowered and rainfall increased. June saw an increase in temperature and low amounts of rain. Flowering began around June 10th. Regular conditions in July and August created the perfect environment for the vine’s growth. The canopy and clusters developed well and rapidly under good conditions. The grapes reached great maturity thanks to a warm month of September. The harvest took place in idyllic condition without rain and pleasant temperatures.
- Cultivation: Covering the vine stock with soil in autumn, plowing-down in spring, tilling and allowing natural grasses to grow. Biodynamic practices include infusions and plant decoctions applied to the vineyards, following the rhythms of the biodynamic calendar. DEMETER Certified 100% Biodynamic.
- Size: 2 hectares (4.94 acres)
- Vine Age: 60 to 90 years
- Soil: Silty-clay terroir, consisting of sandstone grit and red flint on tuffeau (limestone)
- Harvest Date(s): Grolleau was harvested on September 28-29 at optimal maturity; the grapes were handpicked in 12-kilogram boxes and sorted in the vineyard
- Yields: 18 hl/ha
Destemmed grapes were fermented using native yeasts; 20-day maceration without extraction; gentle cap punching; limited pump-overs; and infusion techniques at temperatures of 18 C to 25 C (64 F to 77 F). Slow and gentle pressing in a pneumatic press.
- Aging: 14 months on fine lees in 50% Burgundy casks, used five times before, in ancient troglodyte cellars cut into the limestone hillside on the property and 50% stainless steel vat.
- Bottled: Bottled without filtration or fining on November 22, 2017, a “fruit day”
- Varietal Composition: 100% Grolleau (red grape variety indigenous to the Loire region)
Clau de Nell Grolleau, Vin de Pays du Val de Loire – 2015 – Wine & Spirits – 93 Points
This was a struggling biodynamic vineyard that attracted the attention of Anne-Claude Leflaive and her husband, Christian Jacques; they purchased it in 2008. Leflaive has since passed away, but the couple had hired Sylvain Potin, who continues to farm the Demeter certified property. The grolleau vines range from 60 to 90 years old, growing in silty clay over tuffeau, and the ripe fruit of the 2015 took this wine to a friendly sort of beauty from what is often a gruff grape...