A Visit to Domaine du Closel, 2017

One of the great estates of the Savennières appellation, once the property of Le Mémorialiste Emmanuel de Las Cases, Domaine du Closel (or Château des Vaults to use its original name) was until 2001 under the dominion of Michèle Bazin de Jessey. A formidable figure, she worked tirelessly to improve the quality of the wines, following the guidance of François Roussier of Clos de Coulaine, a vineyard today worked by Claude Papin, and Jean Baumard of the eponymously named Domaine des Baumard. Under Michèle Bazin de Jessey the domaine enjoyed a reputation which, I think it would be fair to say, matched that of its proprietor, the first female vigneron in France to take on the presidency of a growers’ syndicat.

A Visit to Domaine du Closel, 2017

After Michèle’s retirement in 2001 it was her daughter Evelyne de Jessey-Pontbriand (pictured above) who arrived to take up the mantle. Evelyne chose not to rest on her (or her mother’s) laurels, and she instigated numerous changes in the vineyard, not least a move towards organic viticulture, and she also overhauled the work in the cellars. The wines have been transformed beyond all recognition. Now with fifteen vintages under her belt Evelyne was recently kind enough to host me (and a handful of other lucky souls) at Domaine du Closel, to hear about her work, and to taste all the vintages of her flagship cuvée of Savennières, from the Clos du Papillon, that she has made since arriving here more than fifteen years ago.

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