Guide to the Loire regions


Grower Profiles

Fabrice and his new dynamiser 

Fabrice Gasnier

Fabrice Gasnier represents the fourth generation of wine growers to be based in the hamlet of Chézelet, located on the plains below Cravant and Panzoult; the first recorded vintage was in 1902. Fabrice has been here since 1990, taking over from his father, Jacky who is now in retirement. Organic since 2000, Fabrice took his vineyards to the next level when he became certified biodynamic with his 2008 vintage. Despite the fact that this is a significant domaine in terms of its size, all 27 hectares are owned by the family and everything is harvested by hand. 

The vineyards straddle the communes of Cravant and Panzoult; the majority situated on the plain around Chézelet with a further five hectares on the slope and plateau above Cravant. All the vineyards are planted to Cabernet Franc (one remaining hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon was replaced in the mid-2000s) although Fabrice established 0.80ha of Chenin Blanc on the limestone slopes in 2010.

The range here includes four separate cuvées of Chinon rouge, a single rosé and a bottle fermented sparkling rosé, La Cravantine which is also produced from Cabernet Franc. The r
osé comes from one combined hectare of 20 year old vines split between the lieux-dits of La Vallée du Roi and Les Haies Martels. It is produced solely by pressurage direct and represents around 8% of the cellars total production. Les Graves, as the name suggests, comes from 11.5 hectares of 20 to 40 year old vines on the gravel soils of Les Haies Martels, Les Egratigneux and La Poilerie. The resulting wine is raised in cement tanks and yields around 50,000 bottles a year. The Vieilles Vignes is made up from a combined 5.6 hectares of 45 year old vines in Les Batteraux, Les Haies Martels, La Vallée du Roi and Les Clos de Chézelet. The soils here are predominantly clay-silica and are located on a minor puy that rises to a total of 1.5 metres above the gravel plain. Fermentation and malo-lactic are conducted in tank with the wine raised for six months in old 3,700 litre tonneau. Signature (or from the 2009 vintage Fabrice Garnier) is sourced from 65 to 70 year old vines planted by Fabrice's grandfather in La Lubite and Les Batteraux. The wine is tank fermented with the malo-lactic and (14 months) ageing conducted in first and second-fill barriques. Finally, Cuvée à l'Ancienne comes from 2.5 hectares of vines in the gravel, clay and silica soils of La Queue de Poëlon in Panzoult. The wine is raised in older Burgundy barrels for one year.

Gasnier deserves to be recognised more than he currently is and certainly congratulated on being one of the too few producers in the appellation that have embraced organic or biodynamic principles. The fact that three-quarters of his red wine range see some wood within their élevage doesn't really concern me since the wines I tasted from the 2008 and 2009 vintages were generally harmonious and demonstrated (with just one exception) a sense of place. There was the occasional whiff of brettanomyces in one or two wines tasted, but on the whole he gets a clean bill of health and a commendation from this taster that his wines are well worth seeking out. 

Fabrice Gasnier

T: + 33 2 47 93 11 60
F: + 33 2 47 93 44 83

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