Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Le gros lot de Greg Leclerc

with one comment

A historian by training, Grégory Leclerc did stints as a journalist and marketer before falling into the world of natural wine-making. He purchased his four-hectare estate – downsized from the original 6.5 hectares, named Chahut et Prodiges and located in Chargé in the hills near Amboise in the Tourraine – in 2007. He farms organically and makes wines from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Côt and Grolleau. The land is worked using a tractor, though Leclerc says he may switch to horses at some point. Harvesting is manual. Vinification of the reds involves placing the whole clusters in concrete tanks for two to three weeks with no added sulphur and no punch-downs or pump-overs – a form of carbonic maceration, what? Pressing is slow and gentle. The wines are unfined and lightly filtered. No sulphur is added to the reds; a tiny amount is added to the whites at bottling.

Vin de France 2013, Le Coup de Canon, Domaine Chahut et Prodiges ($26.87, private import, 12 bottles/case, NLA)
100% Grolleau from 60-year-old vines grown on clay and flint. Matured around nine months in fibreglass tanks. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: Deux Caves.
Lovely nose of Swedish berries, sandalwood, green earth and clean horse stable. Light-bodied and dry. The tart fruit is set on slate. Barely tannic with a silky texture and clean finish. The bottle at the second tasting showed even brighter and cheerier than the one at the first. Simple and appealing, as wines made from this variety should be. A vin plaisir that goes really well with charcuterie. (Buy again? Done!)

Vin de France 2013, La Meule, Domaine Chahut et Prodiges ($26.87, private import, 12 bottles/case, NLA)
100% Gamay from 25- to 30-year-old vines grown on clay and limestone. Matured around nine months in fibreglass tanks. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: Deux Caves.
Sour red berries, smelling a bit candied, with gamy, slate and pastry overtones. Wonderfully pure, tart and juicy fruit, vibrant acidity and lacy tannins. Long, smooth finish. A complete wine that even Beaujolais sceptics might like. If Deux Caves hadn’t been sold out of this, the group would have ordered two or three cases on the spot. (Buy again? If only…)

Vin de France 2013, Les Têtes Noires, Domaine Chahut et Prodiges ($26.87, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Côt (aka Malbec). Matured in used barrels. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: Deux Caves.
Darker, meatier nose, the fruit tending to roasted cherries and blackberries with slate and wood notes. Smooth on the palate, due in part to acidity that’s softer than the other Leclerc wines and a tannic structure that’s lighter than expected. Savoury finish though not a lot of follow-through. For me, the wine’s best quality is the purity of its fruit. (Buy again? Done!)

Vin de pays du Val de Loire 2012, Grolleau, Clau De Nell ($40.00, 12411763)
100% Grolleau from biodynamically farmed vines between 60 and 90 years old and grown in silty clay on tufa. Yields were a low 17 hl/ha. Harvested by hand and destemmed. Maceration and fermentation (indigenous yeasts) at 18 to 25°C and involving gentle punch-downs and limited pump-overs lasted 20 days. The grapes were then gently and slowly pressed with a pneumatic press. Half the wine was transferred to fifth-fill French oak casks from Burgundy and half to large vats for maturation on the fine lees, which lasted 12 months. The wine was bottled on a fruit day without filtering or fining.  12% ABV. Quebec agent: Séguin-Robillard.
Raspberry-green pepper jelly with a hint of sawed wood. Extracted and dense bordering on heavy. Oddly, given the avoidance of new barrels, the oak treatment seemed a little too lavish and obvious for such a modest grape variety (and I wasn’t the only one to complain of such). Combine that with relatively low acidity and you have a lethargic wine, albeit one with a certain hefty presence. Bottom line: it’s a wine that tries to hard, that gives itself airs. Tellingly, the wine was served double-blind and no one guessed it was made from the same grape as the archetypal Coup de Canon. A few years in the cellar may improve things but who knows? While I’ve enjoyed earlier vintages, this is not what I’m looking for in a Grolleau. (Buy again? Nope.)

Mo’ Wine Group September 27th tastings: flight 2 of 3

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] Paillet is married to Greg Leclerc. In 2010, she decided to abandon her corporate career and become a natural winemaker. Wanting to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: