Chateau de Coulaine
Cheateau de Coulaine: Chinon, Loire Valley
Chateau de Coulaine is a family-owned estate rich in viticultural tradition which has been operating continuously since 1300! In the 19th century the estate came to be one of the most notable in Chinon before phylloxera reduced the holdings to just over 1 hectare of Clos de Turpenay. Since 1988, Etienne de Bonnaventure took over the farming of that 1 hectare assuming all viticulture and winemaking responsibilities and has grown the estate to its current 18 hectares, all situated on Chinon’s plateaux. Planted mostly to Cabernet Franc (with a little Chenin blanc making both Chinon blanc and Touraine blanc) particular care is taken to re-plant using selection massale as they have done for generations. The vineyards are organically farmed since 1997, being the first in the appellation to be certified organic, all grapes are hand-harvested and vinification follows a non-interventionalist path. Coulaine’s low yields result in deeply concentrated, savoury and succulent expressions of Cabernet Franc with ripe and polished tannins – a harmonious balance between the traditional and modern worlds. We adore Cabernet Franc and it is easy to see that Etienne has made every effort in the vineyard and the cellars to ensure that these are simply some of the purest and most deliciously approachable examples you will ever come across!
2012 Touraine blanc “Les Pieds Roti”
Pieds Roti is the old original name of the vineyard across the road from the Chateau which is a small area not granted Chinon status, just Touraine. The vineyard is south facing and soils are strongly calcerous overlaid with rich clay suitable to growing chenin blanc which has produced a very intense and exotic wine with ample acid backbone to balance the obvious ripeness this site bestows. “The wine is vinified in 2 to 5 year old barriques and is a serious example of Chenin, even if it doesn’t carry the Chinon appellation. Coulaine delivers two of the finest white wines produced within appellation.” Richard Kelley – The definitive guide to the wines of the Loire
2015 Chinon rouge 750 + 375ml
Mostly from younger vines up to about 15 yo, this wine is vinified in cement tanks using indigenous yeast and aged in a combination of large old oak and cement tanks. A real ‘vin de soif’ giving the extravagant raspberry perfume and thirst quenching freshness that Chinon is so well known for. Very fresh, very moreish.
2011 Chinon rouge “Clos de Turpenay”
“Le Clos de Turpenay is the historic 2.2 hectare slope of clay-limestone and flint that flanks the château. The blend includes the original 1.2 hectares inherited by Etienne in 1988 which makes the average age of the vines around 50 years old. The wine is fermented in large wooden vats before being committed to 400 litre oak barrels where the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and ageing.” Richard Kelley – The definitive guide to the wines of the Loire
2013 Chinon rouge “Francs de Pieds”
Made from a tiny plot of ungrafted vines in front of the chateau planted on their own roots (making the vines susceptible to phylloxera louse). Vinified in cement with indigenous yeast and then aged in 400 litre barrels (none new) the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal S02. This has given the purest expression of Cabernet Franc that one is likely to find in the Loire. Beautifully elegant and fresh with vivid raspberry perfume and intense yet fresh dark berry and spice on palate.
2012 Chinon rouge “La Diablesse”
Named after a distant relative with a fiery nature named “La Diablesse” (the she-devil). Made from a tiny .8 ha plot of 80 yo vines located in the famed La Picasse vineyard which is widely regarded as among the best of Chinon. This small parcel has a north facing exposition giving a finer fresher aspect to the terrific old vine intensity with the finished wine at just 11.9% alc/vol. Vinified in cement tank with indigenous yeast and then aged in mostly older 400 litre barrels (20% new) for 11 months before bottling unfined and unfiltered. “Dark ruby. Expressive aromas of blackberry, truffle and wild spices. A flavor of ripe currant on the attack. Youthfully chunky but tactile, layered and very natural. Finishes with ripe tannins and pleasing length. This cabernet franc is very easy to drink, and without pretention.” Vinous Media Dec. ‘14