Yannick Amirault: Bourgueil & Saint Nicholas de Bourgueil
Bourgueil is located west of Tours in the western part of the Loire Valley. Bourgueil is situated on the northern side of the Loire , across the river from Chinon, and represents one of the northern-most appellations for growing red grape varieties in France. There are a variety of soil types here with the biggest and most cellar-worthy wines generally coming from the best vineyards on the slopes located further away from the Loire to the north and north-east of the town of Bourgueil. The vineyards on the flat gravelly river soils closer to the Loire yield wines which are usually aromatic, elegant and earlier to mature.
Amirault has about 13 hectares of vineyard holdings in Bourgueil, mostly located on, or just at, the base of these slopes to the north and northeast of the village of Bourgueil. He also has 6 hectares in Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. Even in abundant years the yields are kept very low by doing a green harvest so the quality and consistency at this estate is remarkable. 2006 was a year that also benefited the late ripening Cabernet Franc but only those growers who worked hard to control the yields have gained the benefits. Amirault’s average yield in 2003 + 2004 was 44 hl/ha compared to authorized yields of 55 hl/ha for Bourgueil and 60 hl/ha for Saint Nicholas de Bourgueil.
All vinifications are made with indigenous yeasts with no acid or sugar adjustment. All wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Amirault produces 5 Bourgueil’s and 4 St Nicolas de Bourgueil’s from which we have selected following;
100% Cabernet Franc for all wines
2014 Bourgueil “La Coudraye”
From 25 to 35 years old vines on sandy slopes situated closer to the Loire River. Two thirds of this cuvee are aged in large specially designed wooden tanks, the rest in stainless steel tanks. This wine is notable for its freshness and perfume and has very fine tannins well covered with admirable flesh coming from fully ripe fruit.
2014 Saint Nicholas de Bourgueil “La Source”
Produced from vines planted mostly on sandy soils with an average age of 30+ years, this wine is vinified in tank and aged in large ‘tronconic’ barrels designed specially in this area. The wine is loaded with perfumed cherry and red-currant fruit along with generous hints of spice, white pepper and even chocolate. This is a perfumed and supple wine that is perfect for drinking on its perfumed and fleshy primary fruit.
2010 Saint Nicholas “La Source”
Produced from vines with an average age of 30 years, this wine is vinified in tank and aged in large ‘tronconic’ barrels designed specially in this area. The wine is loaded with perfumed cherry and red-currant fruit along with generous hints of spice, white pepper and even chocolate. This is a perfumed and supple wine that is perfect for drinking on its perfumed and fleshy primary fruit.
2009 Bourgueil “La Petite Cave”
This wine is produced from old vines averaging more than 45 years old which are located around the middle of the slope on the best soils. The wine is matured in 450 litre “demi-muid” barrels and is the richest and deepest wine in his cellar. In great years like 1997 and 2003 the wine is a thick almost impenetrable black colour with amazing concentration and depth of mulberry and black raspberry fruit with anise and spice notes that linger for ages. This is a wine that shows very well at a relatively young age in ripe years like 2006, and which will also age effortlessly for decades. This wine has remarkable depth of fruit supported by substantial fine tannins with just enough acidity to keep the wine fresh and appetizing without becoming too heavy. From the outstanding 2009 vintage, this is a remarkably fresh and pure wine of substantial depth and structure —this is Bourgueil, and Cabernet Franc, at its finest.