Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer Profiles – Coteaux du Vendômois

Domaine Chevais Frères


Louis Chevais

Sitting in what appears to be the one roomed house of Louis Chevais is a sobering experience. One is catapulted back to the 19th Century and straight into a scene from ‘La Terre’, Emile Zola’s novel about the poverty and deprivation of farmers living and working in the Beauce. The only concessions to modern living are an ancient refrigerator, an old television and a fax machine. The Chevais brothers, who look as if they are fast approaching retirement age, are fifth generation farmers with their land and buildings situated remotely on the featureless plain above the village of Houssay. Their business, judging by all the paperwork on Louis’s kitchen table cum desk, is cereals, and vines play only a small part.

Wine Overview :
The brothers farm a total of 4.5 hectares of vines, and have no more than one hectare of any one cépage. Three hectares are dedicated to appellation wine; the balance is left to Vin de Pays from their plantings of Chardonnay (0.25ha) and Gamay (0.77ha). Their one quarter hectare of Pineau d’Aunis vines are over 100 years old. Whilst they do bottle themselves, they also sell off wine to the négoce. The wines are made in a makeshift shed next to the house. Cellar hygiene is clearly not a priority and the ancient cement tanks look decidedly grubby. The wines, as one might expect, as equally as rustic. 

The Wines :
I was invited to taste a few wines in the cellar. None of what I tasted was undrinkable, or faulty, but since no bottle carried a vintage date, it seems pointless writing out tasting notes here. However, the visit left a lasting impression on me of the survival of ‘la France profonde’.

Louis and Jean Chevais
Domaine Chevais Frères
Les Portes
Houssay
T
/F: + 33 2 54 85 30 34

 

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