North of the Loire River, to the west of the city of Tours, lies the small commune of St Nicolas de Bourgueil where Frédéric and Nathalie Mabileau run their unpretentious 27 hectare domaine. This husband and wife team is steadily making their mark, among the many Mabileaus of the region, with fresh, soft and juicy reds from cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon.
The drive for quality wines here is clear with the Mabileaus spending a huge amount of time and energy in the daily upkeep of their vineyards. They are firm believers in selectively picking grapes by hand and are committed to organic farming methods. Vinification methods here are traditional, though in other areas of the business, including wine labels, the approach is unashamedly modern.
This individually-styled domaine shows just how brilliant lesser known wines from smaller Loire appellations can be. With such clarity and purity of flavour these are wines that often make some of the best, most reliable food partners. Locally, a typical food match would be Rillettes de Tours – a popular charcuterie dish. They make a fine range of red wines, a delicious dry rosé, and more recently, a classy barrel-fermented Saumur blanc.