Joël Taluau & Thierry Foltzenlogel
“Taluau is one of those producers who never stops learning, regularly tasting his own produce and that of his neighbours to try to improve his wine.”
– Jasper Morris, The Wines of The Loire (Hamlyn, 1990)
Many appellations have had their emblematic figureheads, from the late Gaston Huet in Vouvray to Charles Joguet in Chinon, to name just two. Here in Bourgueil and St Nicolas de Bourgueil there have been a couple of contenders for this title over the years, both sadly no longer with us. One was the great Pierre Caslot (1952 – 2014), onetime deputy mayor of Restigné, municipal councillor, and of course the much-loved doyen of Domaine de la Chevalerie. The other is undoubtedly more relevant to the story of this domaine.
Joël Taluau (1946 – 2013), although perhaps less frequently celebrated, was certainly no less a contender for the title. Also at one time a municipal councillor, he was also one of the founders and president of the syndicat in St Nicolas de Bourgueil, as well as being the man behind an array of highly regarded wines. It was not just importer and writer Jasper Morris who had kind words for Joël. Writing in The Loire and its Wines (Lennard, 1989) James Seely wrote “He believes passionately in the appellation and in his own wines, and takes infinite pains from vineyard to bottle to ensure that nothing goes out under his label but the very best”. And in Les Vins du Val de Loire (Éditions Jema SA, 1982), Suzanne Blanchet described Taluau as one of the “jeunes loups” (which translates as ‘young wolves’) of his time, passionate in his defence of the appellation.
Tragically, Joël Taluau died in 2013, from a heart attack, leaving behind an impressive legacy of meticulously tended vineyards and a multitude of superb vintages. Fortunately by this time much of the work had been turned over to the next generation, although there is no doubt that Joël was still actively involved, and his passing came as a shock to all.