Guide to the Loire regions

Côtes du Forez

Grower Profiles

Jean-Luc Gaumon draws off some 2009 vintage

Clos de Chozieux

This domaine takes its name from the lieu-dit of the same name and was first recorded in 1024, making it one of the oldest sites in the Forez.

Brothers Jean-Luc and Yves Gaumon are third generation vignerons, although winemaking at the family domaine ceased for 17 years after father Paul died in an accident in 1984. During this period, the vines were rented out to a coopérateur, who delivered the crop to the Cave des Vignerons Foréziens. But after enjoying separate careers (Jean-Luc was a cuisinier and Yves a motor mechanic), they decided to invest their efforts in renovating the cellar and house, originally constructed in 1840. It was Jean-Luc who attended wine school in Macon (at the age of 31) to study for a viticultural degree, producing their first harvest together in 2001, starting with the familys three hectares of old vine Gamay in Leigneux. They have been adding to their domaine ever since and now stands at eight hectares, with holdings of 6.8ha of Gamay extending to the communes of Marcilly-le-Châtel (which provides two hectares for the Terroir Basaltique Cuvée), Boën and Sainte-Agathe (where they planted 1.2ha of Chardonnay in 2004). In 2009 they also established a few rows of Pinot Noir in Leigneux. Everything, except for the Chardonnay, is harvested by hand.

In the cellar, investments have been made in 600 litre demi-muids for one of the red wines, whilst burgundian pièces are used for one of the two Chardonnay’s produced. Cement and fibre-glass tanks are used for other wines, which are produced for early consumption.

There are of six different wines made in this 35,000 bottle production cellar. The range begins with two Vin de Pays d’Urfé Chardonnays, the first, raised in tank, is bone dry mineral and characterful, with the salinity of a good Muscadet. The second is like a minor burgundy, raised for six months in 3-4 fill oak and well integrated. These two cuvees account for a combined production of around 6,000 bottles a year, with a small amount being siphoned off for some sparkling wine (and fabricated by a firm in the Beaujolais).

The Gaumons produce a single Rosé which is dry and therefore sold under the appellation. This is made, where possible, by pressurage direct (as in 2009), but can also be saignée in weaker vintages when the red wines might require some ‘bleeding’. Current demand dictates that the wines are bottled with the Chardonnay in December, with the annual production of 8,000 bottles being sold out by the start of spring.

There are three separate Côtes du Forez red wines produced:
Cuvée de Chabert is named after the family who owned the domaine prior to 1970. The wine comes from 3 to 20 year old vines planted on granite soils around the commune of Boën. The wine receives a classic whole bunch, carbonic maceration in tank with a regular remontage during its seven day cuvaison. The temperatures are kept in the mid-twenties to ensure a softer and more subtle wine, enjoyable within the first year of the vintage. 

Terroir Basaltique comes, as the name suggests, from volcanic soils on the slopes of Marcilly-le-Châtel. It receives a whole bunch cuvaison of 10 days during which time temperatures are allowed to rise to beyond 30 degrees centigrade to ensure a more structured and serious wine. In good vintages, this wine demands and deserves greater time to develop in the bottle.

Vieilles Vignes is from 60 year old vines planted on granite soils in Leigneux. Whilst the two other reds are raised in tank, the Vieilles Vignes is kept in old demi-muids until the September following the vintage. The wine receives a much more traditional (and longer) fermentation, where 80% of the bunches are destemmed.

Wine Overview:
The Gaumons are very highly respected within the region, and it comes as no surprise to learn that Jean-Luc is the current President of the local grower’s syndicat. The wines they produce are decent, honest and they about as close to extracting as much character from Gamay as the raw material will allow. Understandably, they have a loyal local following and are certainly one of the producers worth seeking out.  

Jean-Luc et Yves Gaumon
Clos de Chozieux
T: + 33 4 77 24 38 54


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