to the Loire regions
profiles - Jasnières and Coteaux du
de la Charrière (1974)
father and son
Gigou’s ancestors were from Brittany. His grandfather made wine for the family table and Joël himself worked
for fifteen years with Legreau, an old vigneron
in La Chartre-sur-le-Loir, before taking over the running of the cellar
and establishing his own domaine in 1974. He started with 4.5 hectares of
vines, and over the past thirty-odd years he has grown his holdings to
around twelve, although part of this is from vines rented from a Belgian
friend who has invested here. Gigou has without doubt done more than any
other grower to re-establish the reputation and recognition of these two
relatively unknown wine regions. He was joined by his son, Ludovic, in
1998 and together they work in a deep network of caves that run alongside
in La Chartre. There is a tasting room around the corner, which is where
they operate a modest gîte.
Wine Overview :
La Chartre might be the centre of the wine world around here, Gigou is the
only grower to have vines, a total of three hectares, within the commune.
He has Pineau d’Aunis vines planted here, as well as in Beaumont-sur-Dême,
Marçon (where his oldest parcel is 104 years old) and in Chahaignes. He
also has 0.20 hectares planted in Panorama
in the heart of the Jasnières appellation. In addition, Gigou has one
hectare of forty year old Gamay split between parcels in Beaumont and Marçon
which is used in the Coteaux du Loir rosé and a red table wine; his
Coteaux du Loir Blanc comes from Chenin planted in Chahaignes, Marçon and
Lhomme. Over the past forty years Gigou has built up a significant holding
in Jasnières; if the appellation is planted to 80 hectares, then he
controls about 10% of all plantings. There are parcels in L’Aillerie,
Les Fleuries, Panorama, Les Clos des Jasnieres, but his favourite,
oldest and most distinguished vines are in Clos
Saint Jacques, a site littered with pebbles of silex which literally
smell of gunflint when damp. The Chenin vines here are 70 years old, and
Gigou’s best wine comes from here. A second wine, ‘Paradis’ is the
name of an old parcel with very stony silex soils at the top of the slope,
but, it is used by Joël more as a brand name rather than as site
There is also a sparkling red Vin de Table made from Pineau d’Aunis
under the name ‘Boule Sarthoise’. This was created by Ludovic, with
the first commercial wine being released in 2001 and has since become an
important part of their production. The dosage is generally around 20g/l
to combat the severe acidity in the wine (there is no malolactic on the
Pineau d’Aunis base wine). It’s well worth seeking out as an
enjoyable, if potentially dangerously quaffable, sparkler.
The white wines, which never go through malolactic fermentation, are all
aged in old chestnut fûts and
you get the impression when walking through the cellar than little has
changed here in the last century. The barrels on average are 30 years old,
and the wines generally rest here for one year. Gigou then keeps the wines
back 12 months before release. All the Pineau d’Aunis is aged in tank,
although he has been experimenting with some second hand oak from
for the Gamay.
Gigou’s wines are the epitome of the old, traditional style of Jasnières,
and they are justifiably proud of the fact. They are the reference point
for this style of wine in the region and keep good volumes of older
vintages to help illustrate their worth with maturity. Joël and Ludovic
are great ambassadors for these two appellations.
The Wines :
Coteaux du Loir Blanc
Polished. Deep appearance. Traditional, old fashioned Chenin nose
with good character. Typically rustic with bruised and mouldy apple
flavours. Bone dry (although carried 8g/l) on entry with firm acidity.
Lean and less rustic. Very good structure with a chalky texture.
Approachable now, but will age for a decade or so. Good. (12/08)
Deep yellow/gold. Ripe nose and more open. Typically rustic, but with more
minerality on the nose. Very good focus on entry with great, linear
acidity to match. Very mineral, with a broad structure and a pear skin
like texture. A classic sec-tendre
with around 6g/l residual sugar. Will age well. (12/08)
2006 Jasnières ‘Paradis’
Yellow/gold. Mid depth. Less rustic in style. Richer and more oxidative in
style. Baked and spiced apples on the nose. Good weight on entry with
flavours of pear and quince. Very good thread of malic acidity through the
wine, with great length carried a little by the strict acid. Will age
well, although already quite supple. (12/08)
2006 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Deep yellow/gold. Very rich and broad on the nose. Fairly closed at
present. Need time to evolve. A touch resinous (from the wood ?).
Rich on entry with a savoury profile. The wine carries striking acidity.
Well textured but still unknit. Powerful to the finish and slightly
phenolic. Will need time. (12/08)
2007 Jasnières ‘Paradis’
Mid depth yellow/gold. Rich nose, broad and delicate, but very complex.
Less rustic and even has a tropical expression. Hints of wood. Rich and
ripe on entry with noticeable residual sugar (7g/l). Good depth and
texture with very good balance and a crisp, crunchy acidity. Red apple
flavours with linear acidity. Very clean. Elegant and gentle. Already
approachable and seductive now, but will go the distance. Very pure.
2007 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Pale yellow. Mature nose and distinctly second age Chenin. Some terpine
and Riesling like characters to the nose. Rustic, but open and powerfully
expressive. Dry on entry with striking acidity and minerality. Excellent
weight and focus. Persistent and very strict still, this has the potential
to last for decades, although is already approachable. Very good. (12/08)
2000 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
four different Jasnières cuvées in 2005. Bright. Pale yellow with hints
of gold. Typical of the house style with a firm, mineral and rustic nose.
Quite open already with distinct bruised apple aromas. Mid weight on
entry. Delicate and well focused. Sprightly, with good acidity running
through the wine. More bruised apples and pears on the palate. Pear skin
and russet apple like texture. Excellent focus. Flattered by the residual
sugar. Still very unknit and needs time to harmonise. It really deserves
another decade in bottle. (12/08)
2005 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
favourite vintage. Polished. Mid depth yellow/gold. Noticeable legs.
Lovely nose. Open and expressive with filigree like texture. Fresh, light
and incredibly delicate. Complex nose of honey greengage and quince,
spices and cloves. It’s floral too, with white flowers and acacia.
Delicate on entry and very refined. Builds well. Honeycomb. There is a
fine thread of acidity through the wine. Really lovely now, but this could
age another couple of decades. The wine amazingly only carries 4g/l
residual sugar. Fine. (12/08)
1997 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
from passillerage berries at
just 10hl/ha. Polished. Mid depth, yellow/gold. Very good graduation.
Noticeable legs. Honey and honeycomb, or tarte tatin nose. Rich and open
with hints of caramel. Still very delicate and refined. Lovely on entry.
Deep, rich and concentrated. Very pure. The dried berry flavour shows
through. Powerful, but has delicacy too. Great balance and although
obviously sweet there is great acidity to match. Flavours of baked apple
develop in the glass. This is delicious now, but could be expected to age
for decades. Very long and very fresh. (12/08)
2005 Jasnières ‘L’Extrait’
botrytis berries. Polished. Mid full yellow/gold. Rich and complex nose
with coconut, gorse, honeycomb, honey and toasted brioche. Really lovely
nose with a palate to match. Very refined with excellent texture and
lovely acid balance. Flavours of orange and quince confit. Texture of pear
skins. Great length. This is lovely now, but has a long life ahead of it.
1997 Jasnières ‘Sélection Raisins Nobles’
Jasnières 'Sélection de raisins nobles'
Mid depth and still very youthful yellow appearance. Classic old fashioned
Chenin nose; earthy and a little bit grubby. Light and delicate on entry
with, despite the claim on the label, still searing acidity. Dry and lean
and barely evolved. Intense, with star fruit-like acid, with flavours of
marzipan. Some bitterness on the finish. This is rinking now and will hold
due to its acidity, but its unlikely improve. (04/09)
depth straw appearance. No real sign of age or development. Attractive
nose. Very delicate and creamy. Mature, but not old. Lovely on entry and
pure, mature Chenin. Taut and mineral but with good density. Mineral and
stony. Delicate and refined and the wine is carried more by its structure
than its broad spectrum of flavours. Linear and persistent to finish.
Drinking now, but will hold further. (12/08)
appearance. Brioche like nose with apricot and toffee. Dry on entry and
obviously mature. More flavours of toffee and caramel and with good
balancing acidity. This is mature and needs drinking. (02/08)
Mid depth. Youthful. Again, very pure on the nose, although slightly more
organic and gamey. Pure spice and the pepper shows through. Delicate on
entry. Light, clean and very pure. Firm acidity at this stage and more
nervous. Flavours of bitter cherry and red fruits. Drinking now, but leave
another year or two. (12/08)
2007 Coteaux du Loir Rouge
d’Aunis. Polished. Mid depth. Youthful. Pink to the rim. Lovely pure
nose with pepper and spice. Restrained and elegant. Red fruit and
cherries. Very gentle on entry. Clean and very fresh. Good acid balance
and structure. Fine grained tannins. Lovely fresh acidity to the finish.
Long, with flavours of kirsch and bitter cherry. Approachable now, but
will age and evolve. Excellent and a great introduction to the variety.
2006 Coteaux du Loir Rouge
Gigou, this is a very atypical vintage for Pineau d’Aunis. Polished.
Pale appearance. Broad red fruits and riper, but not confit. Less obvious varietal character here with an aroma profile
more akin to Pinot Noir. Restrained with good acidity and flesh on the
palate where it also has more in common with Pinot Noir than Pineau
d’Aunis. Retains good freshness and acid balance. Grainy tannins. Very
good and drinking well now. (12/08)
2005 Coteaux du Loir Rouge
Good depth. Youthful purple with a pink rim. Attractive, ripe fruit to the
nose. Ripe and juicy on the palate. Wood shows through, but has supple
tannins and good concentration to match. More black than red fruit with
good density and ripeness. Fresh acidity to the finish. Drinking well now,
but could age further. (12/08)
2005 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Gigou’t’
Domaine de la Charrière
Joël and Ludovic Gigou
4 Rue des Caves
T: + 33 2 43 44 48 72
F: + 33 2 43 44 42 15