to the Loire regions
Profiles – Coteaux du Vendômois
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
Houssay. Their business, judging by all the paperwork on Louis’s kitchen table
cum desk, is cereals, and vines play only a small part.
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.
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
and Jean Chevais
Domaine Chevais Frères
+ 33 2 54 85 30 34