Guide to the Loire regions

Côte Roannaise

Grower Profiles

Lionel Montroussier
The Montroussier’s are an old family of wine growers who have made wine in the Roannaise without interruption since 1670. There have been times of trauma and Lionel’s grandfather, Philibert, raised Charolais after the Second World War when there was not enough profitability in viticulture to make ends meet. His son, Michel was obliged to work in Roanne until he was forty before returning to run the family domaine. Lionel was, however, always destined to be a vigneron, and after his viticultural studies in Belleville-sur-Saône he worked for a while for a caviste in Luxembourg to gain some commercial experience, followed by an apprenticeship with Patrick Chassagne, a grower in the Beaujolais, before joining his father in 2001. They worked together for just five seasons before Michel died suddenly in 2005.

The Montroussier’s first started bottling their wines in 1977 at a time when they had just three hectares of vines. In 1989, after Michel had returned to the domaine, father and son started to replant vines on the Bouthéran which helped increase their holdings to six hectares. A new, purpose built cellar was erected in 1998 and they also operate a modest chambres d’hôtes from above the old house.

All of their vines are situated in the commune and until 2005 were exclusively planted to Gamay. Lionel planted a little Roussanne and harvested the first grapes for his Vin de Pays in 2008. The average age of the vines here is 30 years, although the oldest date back to the early 1900s. These vines on the slopes are hand harvested, although the balance is bought in by machine.

The wines are fermented and aged in a combination of epoxy and cement tanks, although some barrels have crept into the cellar for the Roussanne and there is a barrique aged red wine too. Around 10% of the production is rosé, although the method of production changes depending on the conditions of the vintage. Apart from the oak aged red, there are a further three cuvees: ‘La Baude’ for early drinking, ‘Vieilles Vignes Les Quarts’ from the oldest vines and Le Bouthéran. In addition to this, there is a ‘nouveau’ style red wine that is sold in bag-in-box.

My impression here was that this was another casualty of the 2007 vintage, but the 2008 vintage wines tasted in tank looked very promising indeed. Look out for the Roussanne Vin de Pays when released, although there’s only a couple of barrels and its unlikely to get any further than the cellar door. These are good wines made by an energetic and likeable guy.  

Lionel Montroussier
La Baude
Saint-André d’Apchon
T: + 33 4 77 65 80 86
P: + 33 6 08 98 99 64
F: + 33 4 77 65 92 76

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