Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer Profiles – Coteaux du Vendômois

Domaine de la Charlotterie

The Houdeberts are an old farming family established here on the plains of la petite Beauce for many generations. Their primary business comes from the 140 hectares of arable land they own where they grow a variety of cereal crops. The history of winemaking here goes back some seventy years, although it was Dominique Houdebert’s father, Moïse, who gave the then seven hectares of vines a new lease of life in 1973. The first harvest was in 1976, the year of the drought. In 1983, the arrival of the TGV line saw the domaine cut diagonally in half and the young vines, which had only just been planted, were grubbed up. Dominique has been involved with the farm since 1988 and the vineyards have been slightly restructured. Today they work eight hectares of vines on the plateau high above the Loir’s south bank. These are split into four separate parcels; le Paradis and la Fortière in Houssay and le Baquet and le Perré in Villiersfaux.

Wine Overview :
Of the eight hectares only three are dedicated to the appellation Coteaux du Vendômois. At two hectares, Gamay is the most important variety on the farm: this is all vinified by carbonic maceration and sold as departmental Vin de Pays both in bottle and en vrac. There are also plantings of Sauvignon (1.15ha) and Chardonnay (0.60ha) along with some Cabernet Sauvignon (0.80ha) which fell out of favour with the INAO for appellation wines in 2000. This leaves Chenin (0.93ha), Pineau d’Aunis (1.45ha), Pinot Noir (0.50ha) and Cabernet Franc (0.55ha) for the appellation wines. Everything here is machine harvested. The wines are fermented in concrete tanks and stored in stainless steel before bottling in the spring after the vintage.

The sales of the wines are primarily to a loyal local base - Dominique stating that some 60% are sold over the tasting room table - and the Paris market has become important due, primarily, to the number of Parisians who own maisons secondaires within the region.

The Wines :
There are no real surprises here. These are wines that are correct and made for early consumption.

2006 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc
Pale straw. Clean and bright. Clean nose, although restrained. Primary Chenin fruit with some apples. Simple on entry with some marzipan flavours. A bit dilute on the finish. Drink now. (12/08)

2000 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc
Polished. Pale yellow-straw appearance. Attractive nose with some mature yellow peach and marzipan like Chenin notes. Dry on entry with good palate weight. A ‘petit Chenin’, but authentic. Fresh acidity to the finish. Drinking well now, this could evolve and age further. Juicy to the finish. Good. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Vendômois Gris
Polished. Salmon pink. Light, clean and primary nose. Faint white pepper behind the primary fruit character. Light on entry with good fresh acidity. Mineral and faintly spicy. Drinking now. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Cuvée Prestige’
Vinified as demi-sec with 19g/l of residual sugar. Bright, pale straw appearance. Clean and primary nose with youthful Chenin aromas. Quince and apple flavours, but a little shallow and shows a simple sweetness. Good balance, but otherwise undistinguished. Drink now. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Cuvée du Raisin Doré’
The appellation doesn’t allow for moëlleux, but in 2003 and again in 2005 there was little option but to apply for a derogation. Bright. Mid-pale straw. Clean nose with some density and concentration. The sweetness (40g/l) shows, but the wine retains good balance. Very clean with some simple primary Chenin flavours. Quince and liquorish. Well balanced, although finishes a touch short. Drink now, or keep a few years. (12/08)

2003 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Cuvée du Raisin Doré’
Bright, some green hints. Broad nose, but quite closed and restrained. It shows some richness behind. Rich on entry with obvious sweetness (39g/l) and weight, but still a quite delicate style. Good texture. Fresh and well balanced. More flavours of quince and liquorish to the finish. Less acidity that the 2005. Drinking now. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge ‘Tradition’
A blend of 40% Pineau d’Aunis with 30% each of Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. A little hot and baked on the nose. Quite tight on the palate, with some pepper showing. Mid weight, but with decent fruit although finishes a little dry and stalky. Drink early. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge ‘Tradition’
Bright, youthful purple to the rim. Attractive soft red fruit nose with some white pepper. Delicate and a bit herbal on entry. Mid weight with mineral, fresh acidity. Racy with good grip and noticeable tannins. A bit too lean and short. Drink now and in the next two years. (12/08)  

2005 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge ‘Tradition’
Polished. Mid-pale appearance. Red/purple to rim. More obvious pepper here with an attractive and inviting nose. Mid-light on entry, but nicely structured. More delicate and better balanced overall. Juicy and fresh with good grip of acidity. There is a sense of ripeness one would expect with the vintage. Good. Drink now and over the next five years. (12/08)

2004 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge ‘Tradition’
Very pale red with a light purple/pink rim. Clean but closed nose. Light pepper on the palate with some grip. A bit too dry and lacking flesh. Short and dry on the finish. One dimensional. (12/08)

Domaine de la Charlotterie
Dominique & Brigitte Houdebert
2 Rue du Bas Bourg
Villiersfaux
T: + 33 2 54 80 29 79
F: + 33 2 54 73 10 01
Dominique.houdebert@wanadoo.fr

 

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