Guide to the Loire regions

Côtes du Forez

Grower Profiles

Cave Réal
Brothers Stéphane and Laurence Réal are third generation farmers who tend to dairy cattle as well as 5.5 hectares of vineyards. Until 1999 their father delivered grapes up to the co-opertive in Boën after which it was agreed that they would bring their ancient basket press back into service and start to make their own wines once more.

Their vineyard holdings are split over two communes; 2.8 hectares of Gamay in Saint-George-Haut-Ville, which is within the delimited area of the Côtes du Forez and incorporates the hamlet of Fontvial where the farm’s cellar is situated. The balance are on the steep, rocky, volcanic slopes of the Pic de Saint-Romain, an historical and religious site not covered by the appellation. In 1998 the Réal’s were offered the opportunity to clear the abandoned land and re-establish a vineyard here. Rather than the traditional Gamay, they elected to plant the parcel to 1.7 hectares of Viognier. On a separate hillside overlooking the Pic de Saint-Romain, the Réal’s are also experimenting with 0.7ha Syrah, being the first in the region to exploit the Vin de Pays décret which includes it in the list of permitted varieties.

The cellar is a makeshift building, consisting of an old hay barn and refuge for their cattle during the winter months. It now hosts the old wooden press and a couple of tonneau alongside the stainless steel and fibre-glass tanks.  


Here they produce a range of six wines, split equally between Vin de Pays and AC wines. Their Côtes du Forez Aquarelle Rosé is a simple saignée, whilst the Côtes du Forez Aquarelle Rouge is made from older vines and receives a 12 day maceration. The Côtes du Forez Les Perrières comes from a lieu-dit and is vinified apart and receives a shorter six day maceration before passing through oak for three months before bottling.

The Vin de Pays d’Urfé Syrah Rosé was produced for the first time in 2008 and contains 10g/l residual sugar. The Vin de Pays d’Urfé Syrah Coqulicots also debuted in 2008 and was raised in three year old barriques for 10 months. The Vin de Pays d’Urfé Viognier Aldebertus takes its name from monk who resided at the priory at Saint-Romain-le-Puy in the early 11th Century and who etabablished the first vineyard there. The grapes are deliberately picked whilst still not fully ripe, but have been allowed to develop a little botrytis, a technique that Stéphane picked up in Condrieu (which after all is in the same département). This is raised in tank and in 2009 there will be two separate cuvées released.

Wine Overview :
There was much excitement from other growers at the prospect of tasting the first Syrah to be produced in the region, but whilst the wine carries decent varietal qualities, there is a lot of work to be done before it can prove its worth. My visit to Stéphane Réal came at the end of my three day stint in the Forez, but unfortunately the wines failed to convince me. Again, we were looking primarily at the weaker 2008 vintage and the 2009s might prove to be better, but for the moment the potential still has to be realised.

Stéphane Réal
T: + 33 4 77 76 63 04
F: + 33 4 77 52 85 72


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