Château de Tracy, 2021 Update
In the Loire Valley, a vigneron is lucky if he can trace his domaine’s history back more than a century. It is not uncommon for the current generation to be only the second or third to be occupied entirely with the vine. Grandfathers (and grandmothers too, of course) were often agriculteurs rather than viticulteurs, smallholders who perhaps maintained a few rows of vines alongside other crops, as well as fruit trees and livestock, not unusually goats.
A notable exception to this rule is Château de Tracy, an estate sitting on a slope of Portlandian limestone on the right bank of the Loire, in what is today the Pouilly-Fumé appellation. When I caught sight of the château for the first time, more than a few years ago now, it was immediately clear it was of ancient build. And so it was no surprise when I learnt that documents held by the estate describe the cultivation of the vine in the estate’s grounds during the 14th century. This predates proof of viticulture at just about any other estate that comes to mind, not just in the Loire Valley but probably any other French region you care to name.