Guide to the Loire regions

Côte Roannaise

Grower Profiles

Le Clos Saint-Jean / Domaine de la Madeleine
In 1994, father Joël decided to change his career from raising unprofitable Charolais beef cattle and invest instead in his passion for wine by acquiring Combe, an old smallholding in the hills above Saint-Martin. He was joined by his son, Richard, a banker by training, but who was at that time tending goat herds in the Aveyron. By combining their respective passion and talent, they would be able to provide an initial income from the diary, with the goats providing organic manure for the vines. In January 2003, the two were joined by Frédéric, Joël’s younger son, who had previously been a hairdresser. In the same year, Joël invited his friend Jean-Louis Callier, to invest and together they planted a separate 4.25 hectare vineyard, Le Clos de la Chapelle. By the end of 2003, they were the only certified organic producer in the appellation.

From Combe, there are commanding views down over the plain towards the Villerest dam and beyond. To capitalise on this, the Lapalue’s have established a modest auberge which is open at weekends and a shop where one can enjoy the domains wines and fromage de brebis from their 60 Lacaune goats.

There are now a total of 12 hectares under vine here, with a further 2 hectares rented in Villemontais. Whilst the majority of the vineyards are planted to Gamay Saint-Romain, they also have 1.5 hectares of Chardonnay which will come into production in 2009.

An old barn was partly restored in order to accommodate the winery. The wines are fermented in a combination of cement, enamelled steel and stainless steel tanks. The grapes are destemmed and passed through a thermovinification machine before undergoing a four day pre-fermentation maceration. Only indigenous yeasts are used, and there is no chaptalisation. The wines are bottled unfiltered. 

The two brothers operate two separate labels, with Richard and his father selling their wine as Domaine de la Madeleine (although they only elect to make rosé), whilst Frédéric sells his wines under Le Clos Saint-Jean. His red wines are kept back a year before release.

Joël & Richard Lapalue
Domaine de la Madeleine
Saint-Jean Saint Maurice
T: + 33 6 81 20 47 25 (Auberge)
F: + 33 4 77 63 33 90
P: + 33 6 81 20 47 25 (Joël)
P: + 33 4 25 85 11 01 (Richard)

Frédéric Lapalue
Le Clos Saint-Jean
Saint-Jean Saint-Maurice
P: + 33 6 88 45 70 86

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