The Loire Valley, 2000 years of winemaking and the Tuff, extraordinary material, a chalky or sandy, fine-grained limestone, used for the construction of the great “Châteaux de la Loire” and the cities around. Today, the cavities left behind serve as perfect cellars for the winemakers and if you have walked along vineyards on the hillside of the Loire, you were probably walking above a wine cellar.
So many beautiful medieval cities pave the region like Chinon that saw famous personalities like Francois Rabelais, Jeanne d’Arc, Richard Lionheart and of course Catherine et Pierre Breton…
Most precisely in Restigné, the Breton Family has been making wine since 1886. Five generations have worked the land to create a unique environment, it is before and foremost an intergenerational family story that the young ones, France, Paul and Baptiste, try to preserve.
Today, the philosophy is 100% pure grape wine, indigenous yeasts of each parcel, no chemical additives and low or no-amount of sulphur with organic and biodynamic practices.
A familial history
Several generations have taken care of the land and that’s what make the wines of Catherine et Pierre Breton exceptional. Furthermore, Pierre was one of the first in Loire Valley to practice organic and biodynamic viticulture.
After meeting Jules Chauvet, a champion of organic wine who worked on yeast, malolactic fermentation and carbonic maceration in Beaujolais, Pierre decided to change the way viticulture would be conducted in his vineyards.
In 1990, the conversion to organic and biodynamic farming begins.
1994 sees the first cuvée with no sulphur, a bold action for this time when only few winemakers from Beaujolais and Jura vinify without SO2. “Nuits d’Ivresses” was born, an homage to Mr. Chauvet.
Pierre is regarded nowadays as a pioneer of natural wine in the Loire Valley, but this is just an etiquette and Pierre doesn’t like etiquettes except the ones made by the cartoonist Michel Tolmer for his bottles. Every vintage is different and yes to minimise human intervention but viticulture is not natural. In nature, vines don’t grow in lines with small competition for nutrients and water. Therefore, it is a work of observation and understanding of your vineyard that makes the quality of your wine. Your actions need to be synchronised with nature and you can only play with what she gives you.
Catherine’s family had vineyard in Vouvray and in 2002 she makes her first wine of the appellation.
They extend the domain in 2008 and open the winery “La Dilletante” on Ile D’Yeu.
In 2016, Paul, Catherine and Pierre’s son, leaves his fingerprint and vinifies his first Cuvée, “Pierres Rousses” which is how the locals call the soil of Vouvray.
As for France, Catherine and Pierre’s daughter, she creates La Cuverie in Restigné in 2018 and run the operations with an impressive energy, reminiscent of Catherine.
The Breton Family takes care of 17 hectares of vines, 10 in Bourgueil, 6 in Chinon and 1 in Vouvray. They grow cabernet franc, chenin blanc and grolleau.
The vineyards are on three different areas, different soils types including gravel, limestone, clay, schist, and yellow tuffeau.
Vouvray, a 90 million year old Turonian limestone subsoil, overlooking the Loire Valley.
Continental and oceanic climates meet here. Soils are mostly clay and limestone, flint and cretaceous chalk. Chenin blanc thrives here. Also known as Pineau de la Loire, it buds early and ripens late, it can, depending on the conditions be affected by noble rot (in short, a mushroom that attack the grapes, let water evaporates concentrating flavours, acidity and sweetness). It can have aromas of apple, citrus, stone fruits and honey and can be made in a lot of different style, from sweet to sparkling.
Bourgueil, bordered to the north by the Gâtine forest and the south by the Loire.
It has three, different soil types: little islands of gravel in the alluvial terraces of the Loire; higher terraces of ancient, glaciated alluvian sand and gravel; and clay/limestone soils from the ridge which runs along the north of the appellation.
Facing directly south, with a dense forest giving protection from north winds, Bourgueil benefits from a gentle microclimate thanks to the moderating effect of the Loire.
Here, cabernet franc is king. Known as “breton” in the region, it ripens earlier than his cousin cabernet sauvignon making it better suited to cool climate regions. It has aromas of red fruits, bell pepper and can be quite earthy.
Chinon, the mythical land of Pantagruel and Gargantua.
The Loire and Vienne rivers meet just before the city and marks the start of mild atlantic influences. Three major soil types are to be find here, Alluvial terraces (ancient and recent) along the banks of the Vienne, comprising gravel and sand, turonian (yellow tuffeau) limestone outcrops where the rivers meet and plateaus and hillocks largely made up of siliceous clay and sand. As in Bourgueil, mostly cabernet franc is grown, though the Chinon appellation is known to have more delicate wines.
The Bretons are looking for balance between the soil and the plant. Viticulture is being done with the addition of compost, without chemical fertilizers. Massal selection is used to replace dead vines. Organic treatments might be used depending on the climatic conditions of the vintage. Finally, the picking is manual in order to obtain optimum maturity.
A careful sorting is being done after manual harvest. Grapes are destemmed or not, Fermentation starts with natural indigenous yeast specific to each terroir. Reds undergo malolactic fermentation in wooden vats.
Wines are unfiltered, SO2 free during fermentation and low in bottling. With a low intervention they create a true expression of terroir and that’s what you can feel when you drink wines from Domaine Breton.
Our collection from Chinon
Beaux Monts, 2020
Elegant style of cabernet franc typical of Chinon with notes of blueberries, fine and dusty tannins.
Certified organic and biodynamic harvest is manual, grapes destemmed for a 3weeks alcoholic fermentation followed by malolactic.
The wine is aged in vats for 12 months depending on the vintage.
Our collection from Bourgueil
La dilletante rouge, 2018
Fresh and fruity with discreet tannins.
50 years old vines on gravel soil where cabernet franc is grown organically. Harvest is manual and carbonic maceration is undergone for three weeks.
Aged in neutral Burgundian barrels (228L) where fermentation continues, racking is done regularly in relation to the biodynamic calendar.
France Breton, Confluence, 2019
Trinch! Bourgueil, 2020
Gourmet and fleshy red wine, with notes of cassis, blackberries and licorice.
Young 20-year-old vines certified organic and biodynamic on clay-limestone and gravel soils on the hillside of Bourgueil.
Grapes are destemmed, 18 days maceration at low temperature is undertaken.
Aged in wooden tank until spring and bottled in April with a bit of sulphur.
Avis de vin fort, 2020
Clairet style (Light red or dark rosé wine) cabernet franc with notes of red fruits
The soil is made of gravels and organic farming practiced on these 50 years old vines. Saignée, a winemaking technique that involves bleeding off a portion of red wine juice after it’s been in contact with the skins and seeds, is done. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentations follow with indigenous yeasts.
Aged in wooden vats until spring, bottled in April with a minimum amount of SO2.
Nuits d’ivresses, 2018
100 % natural, subtle tannins and aromas of red fruits, spices and vegetal, gourmet wine.
Organic and biodynamic culture of cabernet franc on a clay/limestone soil (tuffeau).
Grapes are destemmed for a 3-weeks alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts followed by malolactic fermentation in barrels.
Aging in barrels in a cool cellar for two Easter cycles and bottled in September.
No SO2 is being used for this cuvee.
Franc de pied, 2017
100 % Breton, native rootstock. Meditative wine with notes of small red berries and delicate tannins.
Organic and biodynamic farming for these 25 years-old vines on gravel soil.
Grapes are destemmed and both fermentation happen in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts.
Aging in barrels with a light sulfur protection at bottling.
Clos Sénéchal, 2018
Great fruit purity with silky tannins.
Vineyard on the hillside with 30, and 45 years old vines, the soil is made of clay/limestone.
These cabernet franc vines are cultivated organically and biodynamically.
Grapes are destemmed for a 3-week alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeast and no SO2.
Aging in “foudres”, large wooden vats, for 12 to 24 months depending on the vintage.
Our Collection from Vouvray
Vouvray Brut, La Dilletante méthode traditionnelle
A delicate sparkling with fine mousse, quince, candied fruit and yeasty flavours.
Vineyard in Vernou-sur-Brenne on flint/clay soils. Traditional method is used for this chenin blanc.
Aged 11 months on slats before disgorging.
Pierres Rousses, Vouvray, 2019
Gourmet wine with notes of stone fruit, honey and a nice minerality.
Vineyard on a flint/clay soil Vernou-sur Brenne, 55 years old vines with chenin blanc grapes.
Manual harvest, double sorting, one the vineyard one in the winery.
Pressing for 3h30 with 2 re-digging using a pneumatic press. Settling is carried out 24 hours after placing in vats. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in barrels for 1 to 2 years.
Aged 10 months in 400 litres barrel and bottled in September. There is a crunchy story about this one, come to the shop and we’ll tell you all about it.