Domaine de la Lande
“The terroir has a great influence on quality. Even if it is too difficult for an uninformed taster to distinguish between a Bourgueil and a Chinon, the true amateurs know only too well the differences that exist within Bourgueil, especially between those wines that originate from gravel and those that come from limestone. The wines from gravel, aromatic and fine, are quick to show all their qualities. The wines from limestone are more resistant at first, only showing their fruit later, but they are excellent to keep.”
– Pierre Bréjoux, Les Vins de Loire, 1956
So wrote Pierre Bréjoux, author and onetime Inspecteur Général of the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, when discussing the wines of Bourgueil and St Nicolas de Bourgueil. Pierre was something of an advocate for the cooler, lighter, more delicate sand-and-gravel style of wine, favouring those who made raspberry-scented wines best drunk within three of four years of the vintage. It was a very different take on the region to André Jullien (1766 – 1832), who ranked the wines of Bourgueil at the same level as some fourth growths of Bordeaux, including Château Beychevelle, Château Talbot and Château Branaire-Ducru.
The Bourgueil of today would, I suspect, prove both men correct. The terraces that rise gently above the Loire here transition gradually from alluvial silt, gravel and sand at their lowest points, to deep clay and profound limestone soils at their highest. The former give one style of wine, the latter give quite another. Situated close to the cusp between these two terroirs, and perhaps with more of a focus on the former than the latter, is Domaine de la Lande.