Grape(s): 50% Chenin, 25% Colombard, 25% Ugni blanc
Localization: Montlouis, Loire Valley, France
Tasting notes: There's a density and marked minerality that the Chenin blanc provides, with mid-palate weight of the Chardonnay. Herbal notes, quince, and spice and the subtle oxidative notes come from Mauzac. It's crisp at first, then becomes rounder, with notes of apricot, and citrus.
The Domain: Lise and Bertrand Jousset created their own estate in 2004 in the heart of Montlouis-sur-Loire (20 min driving east of Tours). Bertrand was career military until 1998 when he began a two-year degree at Lycée Viticole d’Ambroise followed by 4 years in the field to learn (Switzerland, Loire et Cher, Vouvray and a little bit in Montlouis). Lise’s career started in hospitality after leaving the farm that she grew up on and eventually became a sommelier. After 11 years of restaurant work, she decided to make a change with Bertrand and establish their own winery. So, no school molded these two and they were free to define their own philosophy and wine style. Neither Bertrand nor Lise had produced wine before and they did everything by instinct, feeling their way through the process based on the wines they personally liked. The choice of producing Vin Nature would seem inevitable according to their life style up to that point.
After visiting Lapierre, Overnoy and the Bretons, their impulse towards producing natural wines was reinforced. They do not have any mentor, any example to follow. However, there are many vignerons they admire and who inspire them. The Chenins from Richard Leroy, the reds of Sebastien David and Nicolas Reau, also Yvonne Hegoburu. They are not pretentious, quite the opposite; they produce their wine for pleasure alone. For Lise & Bertrand the main idea behind the wine is to share it, connect with people, and to transfer their love to the person lucky enough to enjoy it. This is why they are traveling often: to share their bottles with a diversity of people and enjoy the pleasure of meeting like-spirited people! For the past 5 years, they have had some disasters with the frost. Indeed, they lost up to 70% of their production one vintage. To survive, they had to find a solution, which is how the Exile project started. The idea of this project was to source grapes from friends that were on the same page when it came to wine growing. That new direction allowed them to branch out to other regions and work with varieties they were not used to. They saw it as an opportunity to discover new terroirs while still producing wines in their own style. Today they run 11 hectares in Montlouis and Tourraine: nine ha. of Chenin, one ha. of Chardonnay and one ha. of Gamay/Grolleau. Those 11 ha. are divided into 27 plots mostly based on the typical tuffeau stone. Their vineyard is quite old with an average yield of 30HL/ha. Half of their vines are 60 years old and more while the other half is around 50 year old on average. Everything is picked by hand, even their négoce brand “Exilé” where they dictate the majority of the methods. Their philosophy is to be as close as possible to the raw material: the grape. Therefore, they minimize intervention and manipulation. This means no yeast addition, no chaptalization, no acidification, no enzymes added even for the difficult vintage. The chemistry of modern enology is a red line they will never cross, they don’t even want to consider it. This is why the most important part of the work will always be performed in the vineyard.