A Visit to Charles Joguet, 2019

I have moved house twice in my life. The first time doesn’t really count, as I managed to cram everything I owned into a rusty Fiat Uno which, for those unfamiliar with this boxy little Italian hatchback, had the carrying capacity of a small shopping trolley. And it drove like one as well. The second time, however, was rather more typical. The rooms piled high with a myriad half-filled and half-emptied cardboard boxes. The gritty dust which suddenly appears from everywhere, the echo of unfurnished rooms, it neither house nor home, but something in-between.

I arrived at the offices of Charles Joguet greeted by just this sort of scene. One of the most successful domaines in the Chinon appellation, today run by Anne-Charlotte Genet and Kevin Fontaine (pictured below), Charles Joguet already has a prominent location in the town with the Cave des Silènes, their bistro and tasting room situated in the shadow of the château, just across the road from the Couly-Dutheil tasting room at the foot of the Clos de l’Echo. They also have extensive winemaking facilities next to the Clos de la Dioterie, on the south bank of the Vienne, as well as a beautiful subterranean cellar carved from the region’s Turonian limestone (the location of which is a closely guarded secret). I doubt, therefore, that Anne-Charlotte was looking to acquire yet more property in the region.

Charles Joguet

Although that was before the rather grand maison, situated right next-door to the Clos de la Dioterie, came on to the market.

Settling into my chair at the table set up in the back room it was immediately apparent to me why Anne-Charlotte was so quick to strike a deal on this property. The house sits at the foot of the Clos de la Dioterie, and with just a little work – the cutting back of a few overgrown shrubs, perhaps reducing the height of the back wall – anyone seated at this tasting table will have a superb view up the slope of this clos, which along with the Clos de l’Echo, the Clos de l’Olive and the Clos du Chêne Vert is one of the appellation’s most renowned lieux-dits. Meanwhile the front of the house looks out onto the main road which runs along the south bank of the Vienne, and its potential to catch passing trade eager to taste some of the local wines seems evident. All Anne-Charlotte and her team needed to do was sweep the floors and unpack the many boxes of wine which lay scattered about. I thought about offering to help (honest), but I decided I would probably learn more from tasting some of the wines.

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