Château Tour Grise
Château Tour Grise itself dates from the 15th century, and it is blessed with ancient cellars which penetrate for many miles into the limestone rock of the region. These long and winding tunnels are, naturally, perfectly cool and ideal for the long aging of wines, especially sparkling wines. Perhaps this is why les bulles – especially les bulles aged sur lattes for many years prior to disgorgement – have been such a strong feature of the Tour Grise portfolio?
Whatever the reason for his focus on sparkling wine, though, I should point out that Philippe Gourdon and his family, proprietors of Château Tour Grise, have not been making wine here for the full 500 years that the château has stood here. Indeed, sadly they are no longer active here at all; Philippe retired in 2015, but he remains a significant figure in the region, his parcels of vines now rented or sold to some notable young vignerons, many of whom he advises. More on that at the end of the page; first, a little history.
A Brief History
Philippe Gourdon (pictured above) originates from an old Saumurois family named de Brossay, who settled in Le Puy-Notre-Dame some time after the Great War. The family had a long history of viticulture, one that could be traced back as far as the 19th century, but their main activity was growing mushrooms. Philippe and his wife Françoise took the family domaine in hand in 1990, and it was at this point that things really began to change at Château Tour Grise. He abandoned the growing of mushrooms in order to focus solely on viticulture and winemaking, bringing to an end the family’s agreement for the supply of grapes to the local cooperative.