The Quarts de chaume

An Estate …

Cross the Loire Valley, go past the village of Rochefort, and you will come upon Chaume, a little village posed upon the hillside. Take a dirt path, leaving time and people behind to lose yourself in the vineyards – a moving ocean of vinestocks, leaves, fields, and rows. When you see the roof of the winery, stop in front of the three presses, being careful not to disturb the chickens, birds and other animals. Walk around the property and feel the faint humidity of water down below: the Layon, a branch of the Loire River which brings noble rot (the famous Botrytis cinerea) to the area.

 

Vines …

Then you will learn that the estate’s 6 hectares are planted with 15 to 70 year-old vines (exclusively Chenin variety) with a few timid Sauvignon vineplants; 5 hectares are on the Quarts de Chaume Appellation, and one on Layon Chaume. You discover that all the vines are rooted into sandstone and schist soil, mixed with sand, clay and limon (on a 25 to 70 cm stratum) and exposed south-east to south-west.

 

Emotions…

Innocent, curious to taste the fruit of these vines, you bring the wine to your lips…and suddenly your vision blurrs – all the cells in your body pulse and your heart begins to gently open. The golden-colored nectar nectar descends deep inside you, and yet it is still present, everywhere, in the mouth, the nose – the first to have encountered it… The aromas enchant discretely; all is well-balanced – no heavy arrogant sweetness: freshness proudly dominates the palate.


Dreams …

Depending on the vintage, the wine will take your senses on a journey from figues to apricots, from pineapple to mango, caramel and liquorice – a journey with a clearcut path, supple yet straight. You imagine yourself in the shade of a lime tree, your teeth sinking into candied quince or citrus marmelade. Then you start dreaming about dishes that would go well with this nectar – tagines made with candied lemon, spring chicken simply roasted or in cream sauce.

 

History …

Tasting the wine makes intimate or childhood memories resurface… they lean against the pages of a history book, go back in time until the Middle Ages – the time of the very first winegrowers, the monks at the origin of this Appellation. As rent for their land, they had to give the lords who owned the property “ the best quarter (“quarts” in french) of the grape harvest, from the vines on the southern slopes” This custom is still in effect today in the tiny area of Quarts de Chaume (only 40 ha).

 

Vineyards…

This Domaine knows no chemicals – no weed-killers, no insecticides,only regular plowing and exclusively two kinds of spraying: sulfer and bordeaux mixture. Over the months, work in the vineyards continues, from grape and leaf thinning to debudding. Then the sun, the wind and the humidity do the rest, ripening the grapes one by one, and developping noble rot and taste. Maturity and concentration quickly give the green light for the grape harvest – which is done by hand, in 2 to 5 successive passages or more, depending on the year and the weather. Grape by grape, crate by crate, the harvest is pressed in vertical presses. The juice is left hours and hours to slowly flow out of the press, expressing its heart and soul…

 

Winemaking …

We harvest barely 10 hectoliters per hectare (that’s just under one glass of wine per vineplant). The juice is immediately transferred from vats into barrels, in which it slowly bubbles and quivers day after day as it ferments. When the fermentation is in full swing, the cellars resound with its faint and steady rumbling sound. If you put your ear against one of the barrels, you can hear the bubbles bursting, sizzling, wild with the pleasure of the new life awakening within the liquid. The yeast begin their long journey (an odyssey which will last a year), hunting down sugar and transforming it into alcohol. The countdown has begun…

 

A Language …

From this journey a wine will be born. A special and unique wine which will speak of that year, of the sun and the wind, of lands imagined and crossed, with trees and plants, lime trees and oaks watching over the fields. It will tell of the explosion and the meditation that followed, of the peeps from tiny creatures and their calm silence, of the patience and the hurry, of the peace and the joy. Winter’s finesse and spring’s thirst, one summer’s warmth and one autumn’s languor, when the sun was suave and golden…All this will be concentrated there, in a few dozen wooden barrels, which sleep in the cellars like closed books that will open their pages 2 years later to reveal thousands of bottles…

Actualités

Come and meet us in Suronde Loire Valley

N'hésitez pas à venir nous rendre visite au Château de Suronde (Rochefort sur Loire). Nous serons heureux de vous faire dévouvrir nos vins et le domaine

N'hésitez pas à venir nous rendre visite au Château de Suronde (Rochefort sur Loire). Nous serons heureux de vous faire dévouvrir nos vins et le domaine

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