Guide to the Loire regions

Reuilly

Grower Profiles

Domaine de Reuilly
Originating from the village of La Chapelle-d’Anguillon, made famous as the birthplace of novelist Alain Fournier, Denis Jamain returned to his native Cher after studying for an MBA at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), which somewhat helps to explain his perfect command of the English language. His grandfather had established himself as a forester in the Sologne after the Second World War, as well as planting a vineyard in Menetou-Salon in 1956, three years before it received its own Appellation Contrôlée. His father, however, followed a different career path, electing to sell off the vines in Menetou-Salon (they were bought by Domaine Gilbert) and investing instead in a poultry processing plant that was eventually sold to Agri-Cher in the mid 1990s; a business that Denis inherited and ran for the nine years subsequent to his father’s death.

Eager to look for a new career, Denis took an interest in the re-establishment of the vineyards in Reuilly and bought land and vines (from an ex-vigneron called Picard who was a financial casualty of the eventual demise of Agri-Cher) in the appellation and took a share in the newly established Chai de Reuilly with the proceeds of the sale of the business. Prior to his first vintage, in 1998, Denis enrolled for a two year viticultural course at the agricultural college in Amboise. Today, Denis owns 23 hectares of land in Reuilly of which 16ha are currently under vine. This makes him the second largest grower in the appellation (after Domaine Lafond), responsible for approximately 8% of the appellations production.

He works with all three of the permitted varieties in the appellation, having ten hectares of Sauvignon, 2ha of Pinot Gris and 4ha of Pinot Noir. In addition, Denis also manages the forest, located some 15 kilometres from Reuilly, which he inherited from his grandfather, where he sources the oak for the barrels that now help raise his red La Cuvée de la Comtesse.

The ten hectares of Sauvignon produce two separate regular cuvees: a generic wine that is sourced from the south facing slope of ‘Les Coignons’ with additional grapes coming from ‘Les Châtillons’ and ‘Les Conges’ – the same two parcels also supply his Pinot Gris. A premium, single vineyard Sauvignon from ‘Les Pierres Plates’ is from older vines planted, as the name suggests, on a terroir made up of fragments of limestone. Here, warmed by the nature of the rock, the south-facing slope helps accelerate the ripening, making this parcel the first vineyard in the appellation to reach full maturity. It comes as no surprise to learn that this slope was recognised as early as the 7th Century for its distinguished position. ‘Les Pierres Plates, for me, is the essence of Sauvignon from the appellation; it is bottled slightly later, around June, and offers more concentrated and durable wines. ‘Les Pierres Plates’ is also the location for Jamain’s hand harvested Pinot Noir. There is also an occasional release of a barrel aged Sauvignon, commercialised as Anne de Varennes.

Simply being one of the largest producers doesn’t automatically qualify a grower for being the best in the appellation, but in the case of Denis Jamain , he is undoubtedly one of the few reference points for Reuilly. The single vineyard ‘Les Pierres Plates’ is consistent in that it delivers the best wine in the appellation on a regular basis; a fact recognised by those who do business with him; Kermit Lynch in the States and (this is where I declare a commercial interest) Richards Walford in the UK. His export sales account for around 500hl a year (about one-third of all the Reuilly that leaves France), which is also testament to how hard working Denis Jamain is, and how a command of the English language can help consolidate those relationships!

Denis Jamain
Domaine de Reuilly
Villa Camille
Chemin des Petites Fontaines
Reuilly
T: + 33 2 38 66 16 74
P: + 33 6 08 25 11 18
F: + 33 2 38 66 74 69
Denis-jamain@wanadoo.fr
www.denisjamain.com
 

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