to the Loire regions
profiles - Jasnières and Coteaux du
des Gauletteries (1984)
cellar at Gauletteries
Lelais family is one of the most important growers of Jasnières. With
nearly 15 hectares, they effectively vinify 20% of the appellations
production. Although five generations have worked out of these troglodyte
cellars, the domaine was relatively modest in size until Raynald arrived
in 1984. His great-grandfather owned two hectares, but the family’s main
occupation was in the production of cereals. Raynald sold off 70 hectares
of arable land in 1988 when Henri, his father, retired. He is now is vigneron
pur. In the past twenty five years Raynald and his wife, Francine,
have worked hard to build up the size and reputation of the domaine, and
today are very good ambassadors for the region.
The tall, quietly spoken Raynald studied agriculture at college in Amboise, but insists that as a winemaker he is essentially self-taught. He is
charming and happy to devote time to tasting through his wines and
discussing them in detail. He is also rightly proud of the caves that run
off down passages at the back of the house. The hillside in Poncé-sur-Loir
is littered with tunnels. In fact, I’d bet there are more kilometres of
galleries under ground than there are roads in the village. The caves here
are as impressive as any I’ve seen in the
. They date from the 14th Century when the extracted stone would have been
used to help construct the châteaux around the region. Today, they act as
a private museum and as a home for a colony of hibernating pipistrelle
bats. Before the Second World War these galleries were filled with
bottles, and evidence of their origin exists in the bins excavated in the
rock and then dated with their contents. The cellar was emptied during the
German occupation, so Raynald is trying to re-establish a vinous record of
the wines of the region once again.
family controls a total of 16.80 hectares of vineyards in the two communes
of Ruillé-sur-Loir and Lhomme. Of these, 80% are rented from a succession
of older amateur vignerons who
continue to approach him to take on their own vines. Of the 2.20 hectares
in Coteaux du Loir all are planted to red grapes. There is almost half a
hectare of Pineau d’Aunis in Pierre
Beurre (the most renowned site for producing red wines), added to
which there is some 20 year old Gamay, Côt and Cabernet Franc. From these
he makes a single red wine, incorporating around 5% of each of these three
varieties every vintage. There is also a rosé
de maceration made exclusively from Pineau d’Aunis. Given the extent
of holdings in Jasnières, there is no reason to produce any white Coteaux
Wine Overview :
In Jasnières, the family owns vineyards in Clos
Fleuries (these being the vines inherited from the previous
generation) plus, some in Les
Gargouilles, which Raynald bought in the early 1980s and believes to
be the best parcel in the appellation ‘in the best years’. The rented parcels are scattered
amongst le Clos Saint Jacques, Clos
de la Gidonnières, Clos Cheminées, Sous-le-Bois and le Clos des Jasnières. There are four separate cuvées produced from the
appellation each vintage; a ‘traditional’ release is followed by two
single vineyard wines in ‘Clos Saint Jacques’ and ‘Clos Fleuries’.
All of these are generally harvested by machine, but in most years they
produce a fourth wine, ‘Cuvée Saint Vincent’, a selected vineyard trie,
which can incorporate bunches or berries that have been affected by
botrytis. The wines are all made in a purpose built cellar in fibre glass
tanks, which Raynald feels are much more responsive to the needs of
controlling the fermentation temperature than stainless steel. He
dispensed with all the chestnut casks, which dated back to his
grandfather’s era, in the late 1980s when his father retired.
co-operative in the appellation and very little wine sold through the
mainstream négociant houses, it is left to larger producers like the
Lelais to maintain and guard the reputation of Jasnières. They do sell
their wines within the Grande
surfaces in France
and to larger clients overseas, and this is where most consumers’
awareness and subsequent opinion of any region’s wines tend to be
formed. These are good examples, and are very representative of the
appellation. They do, however, tend to be quite primary in their youth,
and it’s unfortunate that most consumers (especially in
where the tendency is to drink wine early), miss out on the secondary
characters that Chenin needs to develop to fully express itself.
The Wines :
with green hints. Still quite primary nose. Unevolved. Faint liquorish.
Unknit acidity. This needs time as is currently devoid of character.
straw appearance. Primary nose and palate with a hint of residual sugar.
Good potential, but a bit sweet and sour at present. Needs time to
harmonise and the sugar and acid balance to come together. Now very
2007 Jasnières ‘Clos de Fleuries’
the rain. Very pale but bright. Straw/green appearance. Open nose. Rounded
and creamy (one third went through malolactic fermentation). True Chenin
with a touch of wet wool. Bone dry on entry with green apple flavours.
Well textured and linear. The acidity is a little unknit to the finish.
Very good, but needs a little longer ideally to settle down. (12/08)
2006 Jasnières ‘Clos Saint Jacques’
Cloudy. Broad and solid on the nose. Well balanced and textured with
obvious sweetness, it carries 30g/l residual sugar. Very ripe, but with
good balance and length. Drinking well now. (12/08)
attractive nose. Open and mature nose. On the palate, there is noticeable
sweetness, although the wine is sec.
In reality it tastes like a minor Vouvray demi-sec.
Good balance and still showing well. Drinking now but will age further.
hand and triaged very late.
Vinified dry. Polished. Yellow/straw appearance. True Chenin nose, with
white truffles and champignon de
Paris. Complex and smoky. Delicate on entry but with good texture and
weight. More herbal flavours with a chalky minerality on the mid palate.
Firm acidity and still a little awkward. Drinking now, but no rush. A good
effort for a minor vintage. (12/08)
1999 Jasnières ‘Cuvée Saint Vincent’
vintage here to be vinified in tank. According to Raynald, it fermented
very quickly and was never easy to drink in its youth. There was no
botrytis in this particular cuvée. Complex appearance. Polished.
Yellow/gold. Mid depth. Rich on the nose, with crème brulée and toffee
apples. Delicate, refined and complex. Curious on the palate, with
flavours of toasted sesame seeds and carries a saline edge. Finishes dry
with a good mineral thread. Drinking now. Unlikely to improve, but will
P: + 33 6 82 21
Domaine des Gauletteries
Francine & Raynald Lelais
T/F: + 33 2 43 79 09 59