Guide to the Loire regions


Grower Profiles

Fabrice, Déborah and Jean-Claude Delalande

Domaine de la Semellerie
Located at the summit of the commune of Cravant-les-Côteaux, Domaine de la Semellerie could justifiably claim to have some of the best vineyard sites within the appellation. There are 30 hectares here, situated immediately behind a lovely old white farmhouse, erecting using the local limestone, that hosts three generations of Delalande family. Given their high altitude location and general exposure, these vineyards are some of the coolest in Chinon, yet equally they also benefit from full exposure to the sun. 

Fabrice Delalande is the 6th generation to have made wine here, joining his father, Jean-Claude in 1989. Jean-Claude is the cousin of Patrick Delalande whose cellar can be found on the plain below Cravant after Fabrice's grandfather elected to divide up the family vineyards in 1964. During the 1970s and right up until the arrival of Fabrice, the wines from the domaine were sold and distributed through Couly-Dutheil as part of their négociant business. 

In addition to the 30ha on the coteau, there are an additional nine hectares on the alluvial terraces, but rather than keeping the two apart, Fabrice is an advocate of cross-blending between the different sites to achieve a more homogenous style. 

The cellar is a relatively modern one situated next to the house. Inside, there are a bank of stainless steel tanks where all the wines are fermented, although Fabrice prefers to raise his generic red in cement. Whilst I might consider him guilty of the blatant use of oak in the tragically named Cuvée Kevin Vieilles Vignes or the Cuvée Déborah (named after Fabrice and Nicole's two children), the basic Cuvée Domaine is a complete joy and everything I want my Chinon to be; pure, red-black fruit with excellent Cabernet Franc definition and bottled straight from the tank, the blend being made-up of two-thirds fruit from the coteau and one-third off the terraces from vines that are now between 25 and 30 years old. In a similar fashion, his very pretty (two-thirds saignée, one-third pressurage direct) salmon-pink rosé is clean, mineral and comes highly recommended. The Cuvée Kevin Viellies Vignes has been produced since 1995 and comes from a total of four hectares of 45 to 55 year old vines. This is raised for seven months in oak, whilst the Cuvée Déborah was first released in 1999 and selected from a 1.3ha parcel of 60 year old vines. Typically, this is raised in 25% new oak for one year. 

The name of Domaine de la Semellerie will be unknown to many imbibers of Chinon, but it deserves to be recognised as one of the top ten producers in the appellation; not so much for the grandness of its wines, but more for their simplicity and purity. Considering they also farm 35 hectares of arable land and everything here is still harvested by machine, they produce a reliable source of good value Chinon at every level. 

Fabrice and Nicole Delalande
Domaine de la Semellerie

T: + 33 2 47 93 18 70
F: + 33 2 47 93 94 00

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