Guide to the Loire regions

Côtes du Forez

Grower Profiles

Domaine du Poyet
The Arnaud family has long since been associated with the vineyards of the Forez, although had, since the early 1960s, supplied their crop to the co-operative. When Jean-Francois Arnaud took over the running of this mixed agriculture farm in 1995, all this was set to change. Leaving his career as a mechanic, he put himself through viticultural school in Macon for a year with the objective of recreating the family domaine.  

Today, Arnaud works eight hectares (including 0.5ha of Chardonnay) in the commune of Marcilly-le-Châtel, from vines that range between 12 - 60 years old.  Despite the fact that 80% of his plantings are at 4,500 vines per hectare to enable greater mechanisation in the vineyard, he elects to harvest everything by hand ‘a necessity in certain years’ he declares, where in 2009 there was much localised hail damage.

In his cellar in the hamlet of Le Poyet, just to the south of Marcilly-le-Châtel, Arnaud makes a clean and lively unwooded Vin de Pays d’Urfé Chardonnay, followed by four wines under the Côtes du Forez appellation. The first is his light, chalky Rosé produced from a combination of pressurage direct and saignée which, with its red fruit expression and fine thread of acidity, is certainly one of the best examples tasted from the 2008 vintage, and accounts for around one-quarter of the domaine’s production. The red range commences with a Fruité, fermented using semi-carbonic maceration to extract fruit but not tannin to ensure a light, early drinking style, the 2008 being a good effort in a difficult year. The Cuvée Poyet is more corsé and a little reductive ; chalky textured, but with good balance, whilst the Cuvée des Vieux Ceps is from his oldest 1.5ha parcel, with bunches that are mostly destemmed and pumped over during fermentation to extract more tannin and which benefits from longer ageing in bottle.

Wine Overview :
Jean-François Arnaud looks like the sort of man you’d entrust your Peugeot to for a service, but despite this he is clearly a competent winemaker, capable of delivering well made and some of the most worthy examples of the appellation. He’s probably not in the same league as some of his peers, but neither should he be overlooked. I liked the man and his wines.  

Jean-François Arnaud
Domaine du Poyet
Le Bourg
T: + 33 4 77 97 48 54
F: + 33 4 77 97 48 71


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