Domaine de la Garrelière, 2018 Update

My final report in this week of tasting reports from the Touraine appellation brings us out from the Sologne and away the banks of the Cher to vineyards further downstream once again. Indeed, of all the domaines I have featured this week, which includes Henry Marionnet, Lionel Gosseaume, Château de la Roche en Loire and Jean-Marc Biet, this domaine is the furthest downstream, being located southwest of Chinon. In fact it is my ‘local’ vineyard, being the domaine closest to my house, well within walking, running or cycling distance.

Sadly, this does not mean I draw back my curtains in the morning to gaze out upon a sweeping vista of lush, emerald-green vineyards. Viticulture was once very prominent here, having been active encouraged by Cardinal Richelieu, who was eager to develop the production of wine to quench the thirst of the inhabitants of his pet project, the nearby town of Richelieu. In the latter years of the 19th century, however, phylloxera arrived in the region, wiping out the region’s vineyards, every one, without exception. Whereas prestigious and profitable vineyards in Savennières, Chinon and Sancerre were replanted, more peripheral vineyards often disappeared. And many of those that were replanted did not survive the decline of the 20th century.

Domaine de la Garrelière

The story of Domaine de la Garrelière bucks this trend; the land, devoid of vines, was purchased by Pierre Plouzeau in 1973, and it was he that replanted the vineyards, a century-or-so after they had been lost to the devastating disease. His son François (pictured above) joined him during the 1980s, and took over completely the following decade. Since then he has gained a loyal following convinced by his commitment to biodynamic viticulture and the joyous quality of his wines, which include vivacious examples of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc too, clearly happier in the western reaches of the Touraine appellation than it is in the Sologne, and deliciously down-able Gamay.

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