Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer Profiles – Coteaux du Vendômois

Claude and Giselle Minier

Sadly, elderly brother and sister, Claude and Giselle are likely to be the last of five generations of farmers to tend vines on the plateau and west facing slopes between Lunay and Thoré-la-Rochette. Claude, typically paysan in his blue overalls and cap, offers an occasional shrug whilst his bossy and very chatty sister takes control of proceedings. In theory, he tends the wines and makes the wines, whilst Giselle oversees their farm gîte and her eight cheese producing goats. Claude learnt his trade from his late father, Robert, and as well as the 7.5 hectares of vines they also grow corn, barley and sunflowers.

Wine Overview:
All the vineyards here are under the ownership of the domaine. Apart from a little sparkling wine and a Vin de Pays Chardonnay, the rest are bottled under the appellation. In relation to other growers their vines are not particularly old; the 2.5 hectares of Pineau d’Aunis was planted in the 1960s and their single hectare of Chenin dates from the mid 1970s. All the wines are raised in fibre glass; the old chestnut barrels were last used here for the 1983 vintage. The red wines are always blended, with the assemblage completed after fermentation is complete. The Miners have long been supporters of Pinot Noir in the appellation and first planted the variety in 1968. Giselle is keen to point out that they feel the variety is much better suited to the conditions of the soils here, with its limestone bedrock. ‘Cabernet Franc was destined to be planted on the sandy soils of Bourgueil’ she states. Although she is technically incorrect, it was not my place to correct her. The wines are sold in bottle and en vrac to both private clients and négociants.

The Wines:
These are paysan wines, but ones that show a degree of honesty and integrity. They might be a little rustic around the edges, but they are as full of character as the couple who make them. It will be a sad day when the Minier’s are no longer around to perpetuate their rural charm.

2006 Coteaux du Vendômois Gris
Salmon pink. Closed nose. Quite light and simple. More expressive palate. Very spicy but also a little high toned. Dry and mineral finish with a flavour of dead yeast. Ordinary. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc
The Miniers exert the right of the appellation here to add in 20% Chardonnay with their Chenin. Mid depth yellow. Clear, but  not bright. There is an impression of oak despite the fact the wines are raised in tank. Rich and broad with a good texture. Also a bit high toned on the finish. Mineral, flinty, stony flavours. Drinking now. Decent. (12/08)

2007 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge
The varietal mix on the red wines can change from vintage to vintage. The 2007 carries more Pinot Noir this year. Mid depth. Ruby red. A bit hot on the nose. The palate is more attractive in a lighter, more rustic way. Flavours of pepper and spice with some herbal notes. Lean, but attractive fruit. Good length, although this is carried someway by the brisk acidity.

2005 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge
Slightly more Cabernet Franc in this vintage, although still Pinot Noir dominated. Light, spicy nose with good richness. A bit high toned and rustic, but this adds to the overall interest. A bit hot and cooked on the finish. Drink now. (12/08)

1990 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge
A blend of 80% Pinot Noir with Pineau d’Aunis. Very good organic nose and palate – like a minor Burgundy . Soft and almost an old fashioned Rioja like profile, although the wine saw no wood ageing. This was raised in tank and bottled in 1991. It shows the potential for development, albeit in a classic vintage. Very good. (12/08)

Claude & Giselle Minier
Les Monts
Lunay
T: + 33 2 54 72 02 36
F: + 33 2 54 72 18 52

 

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