Guide to the Loire regions

Côte Roannaise

Grower Profiles

Maurice Piat et Fils
Set up on the slopes above the plain, La Chapelle can probably claim to be situated in the most picturesque location in the whole appellation. This traditional mas has just two hectares of vines which lie on the slope at the rear of the house. It has been in the same family since 1890, and it was Gérard Piat’s grandfather who first established the vineyard in the lieu-dit that lends its name to the domaine. Until the arrival of the Lapalue’s who established their own vineyard a little further up the hill in the mid 1990s, the Piat’s were the only grower to exploit these slopes above Saint-Jean.    

The slight, shy and impish-looking Gérard is in the full-time employ of the local municipality where he works as a gardener, as he can’t make a living off just two hectares of vines. He succeeded his father, Maurice, who first bottled wine under their own label in 1988, although he is now in his 80s and long since retired.

The youngest vines here are ten years old and all trellised. The 60 to 80 year old vines are gobelet trained, and are used specifically for a separate vieilles vignes cuvee. Everything here is harvested by hand, although they look towards harvesting the maximum possible yield for the appellation, at 55hl/ha.

Wine Overview:
A traditional approach is followed in the cellar with Gérard doing little to change the winemaking process of his father and presumably his grandfather before him, crushing the grapes using an ancient basket press. There are two red wines produced here and the vinification process is essentially the same for both, the only difference being that the old vine cuvee makes use of spontaneous yeasts. The cuvaison lasts for just under a week, with Gérard conducting a pump-over twice a day, and allows for the temperature to rise to 30˚centigrade for the final 48 hours of the fermentation. In addition to the reds, twenty percent of the production is rosé, produced by the saignée method.

The Wines:
The attractive salmon pink Rosé 2007 was light, fresh and well balanced, whilst the two reds conform to the local tradition to produce one fruité and one corsé wine. The 2007 ‘La Chapelle’ is light with plenty of yeasty, bread-dough like aromas and flavours, whilst the ‘Vieilles Vignes’ is more serious, structured and mineral even. This might be a marginal domaine, but on the evidence of the current releases, the wines here are very good and comparable to some of the lighter crus of Beaujolais. They are certainly a credit to the appellation.

Gérard Piat
La Chapelle
Saint-Jean Saint-Maurice
T: + 33 4 77 63 12 85

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