A Visit to Charles Joguet, 2016

When visiting domaines in the Loire Valley and also Bordeaux I have on occasion found myself ‘following my nose’, consequent upon sometimes rather vague instructions. “We are in the big château on the south side of the village”, would be typical of the sort of instructions I am used to receiving, perhaps with a less-than-reassuring “you can’t miss it” for good measure. Fortunately, with online satellite maps readily available, a quick look before setting out will usually nail down a more precise destination, saving valuable time. This is especially important in a busy week of tasting, each day a series of madcap dashes from one appointment to the next.

This time, however, it was different. “Perhaps we can meet at our cellars”, suggested Anne-Charlotte Genet, today the driving force behind the domaine that still carries the name of Charles Joguet. The instructions were quite precise, as her message included map co-ordinates, which I quickly keyed in online to see where I was going. And yet I was confused; the images onscreen before me were not of the domaine that I knew, on the south bank of the Vienne, with the vines of the Clos de la Dioterie running up the hill behind. In fact there wasn’t anything that looked like a winery in sight. The co-ordinates led me to zoom in on a crossroads in the Touraine countryside, surrounded by a few vineyards and fields of wheat. Surely this couldn’t be right?

Charles Joguet

No, I decided, it had to be correct. I placed my trust in Anne-Charlotte. I threw my notebook and camera onto the back seat of my car, and set off into the unknown. Pulling up at the crossroads, I spotted Anne-Charlotte’s car at the side of the road, and realised my trust had been well placed. And just behind it, completely hidden from the road (and from online mapping), a small dirt path led down to a gate, cut into the tuffeau rock. Emerging from the gloom came Anne-Charlotte, and we went together into the darkness of the cellars beyond.

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