Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer profiles - Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir

Domaine de la Charrière (1974)


Gigou, father and son

Joël 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 the Loir in La Chartre. There is a tasting room around the corner, which is where they operate a modest gîte.

Wine Overview :

 

Although 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 specific.

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 Bordeaux for the Gamay.  

The Wines :
The 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.

2007 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)

2006 Jasnières ‘Paradis’
Polished. 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 ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Bright. 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)

2007 Jasnières ‘Paradis’
Polished. 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 ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Polished. 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. (12/08)

2000 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Polished. 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)

2005 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
There are 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)

1997 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Joël’s 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)

2005 Jasnières ‘L’Extrait’
Produced 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)

1997 Jasnières ‘Sélection Raisins Nobles’
Almost 100% 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. Outstanding. (12/08)

1988 Jasnières 'Sélection de raisins nobles'
Polished. 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)

1982 Jasnières
Bright. Mid 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)

1981 Jasnières
Bronze 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)

2007 Coteaux du Loir Rouge
Polished. 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)

2006 Coteaux du Loir Rouge
100% Pineau 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. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Loir Rouge
According to 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 ‘Gigou’t’
Polished. 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)

Domaine de la Charrière
Joël and Ludovic Gigou
4 Rue des Caves
La Chartre-sur-le-Loir
T: + 33 2 43 44 48 72
F: + 33 2 43 44 42 15
Vins.gigou@wanadoo.fr

 

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