Bernard and Michel Rousseau are the fourth generation to take up the winemaking baton at this 18-hectare Loire estate, though their mother Alice and Michel’s wife Cathering lend a hand with administration and bottling. It is very much a family affair, as it has been since the end of the 19th century when Alphonse Rousseau established it.
Pinot noir, pinot gris, gamay, cabernet franc, malbec and pinot meunier are all grown on clay soils alive with flint which is strewn across the surface, all of it overlooking a tributary of the Loire, the Indre River.
Crop thinning is carried out when necessary to reduce yields and leaf thinning is practised to allow more sunlight into the leaf canopy. The winery itself is equipped with a sorting conveyor that allows the Rousseaus to select the healthiest fruit for each parcel, and both stainless-steel and enamelled tanks are employed for most fermentations and maturation, though there are some oak barrels for special cuvées. This is an estate where tradition and forward thinking go hand in hand.
The pinot noir is chilled and macerated as whole bunches for 4-6 days before fermentation at between 18 and 22C for eight days to ensure a full but fresh flavour. The wine is then aged on its lees for three months before bottling. The end result is bright, fruity pinot noir with a plush core that represents excellent value for money.