Claude and Stéphane Branchereau, Domaine des Forges (1994)  

The arbre généalogique shows that five generations of the family have worked vines in St Aubin de Luigné, commencing with a two hectare purchase in ‘Le Clos des Forges’ in 1890. Today Branchereau, father and son, farm a total of 42 hectares of vines, including just under one hectare in the Quarts de Chaume. Stéphane joined his father in 1996, after obtaining a degree in Viti-Oeno and working stages in both Bordeaux and the Beaujolais . In 1991, Claude had acquired land in Le Clos de Maurièrs near the Moulin de Gué. They now have three separate holdings in Savennières, having bought one hectare of Le Clos du Papillon in 2004 from Madame Vaulchier and having rented a further 0.70 hectares which they now rent from her brother, Baron Brincard, in La Roche aux Moines.

Wine Overview:  
Since 2004 the Branchereaus have released three separate wines from each of the sites that they work. All are fermented and raised in 450 litre barrels of which around 20% are new. The wines are batonnaged for around three months, and whilst malolactic is not systematic, it often occurs. Bottling takes place just prior to the following vintage. 

The Wines:  
The Branchereaus come with a fairly solid reputation for their Layon wines, however I don’t believe they have yet learnt to tame the challenging environment of Savennières. The wines here are big, fat and most noticeably, alcoholic. All the wines tasted in here in February 2008 are broaching 15% and it shows, with the wines lacking finesse and charm. There is too much emphasis on ripeness and the use of oak and malolactic to the detriment of acidity and freshness.

2009 Roche aux Moines
Rich, ripe nose, but clumsy with obvious grainy oak to the palate. This lacks any sense of place but remains typical of the house style. Unknit and ordinary. (02/11)

2008 Roche aux Moines
Fermentation, malolactic and ageing in oak for 11 months. Clean, open and attractive but heavily marked by the wood which only serves to mask the character of the wine and the appellation. Soft and creamy on the nose. Palate expresses its origin better. Clean and fresh with good balancing acidity. The oak still dominates the back of the palate. Hopefully, this will integrate over time. Open and expressive and certainly approachable now. This is a distinctly commercial style but compromises the character of the appellation. (02/10)

2006 Moulin de Gué  
Pale straw. Attractive, delicate and clean nose with gentle oak. Still quite primary. Delicate on entry with flavours of honey and cereal, but quite ripe and broad behind. Very modern, open, creamy style. Good acidity and freshness to balance. Attractive. Open now, but would benefit with another couple of years. (02/08)

2006 Roche aux Moines  
Bright. Mid-depth straw. Clean nose and still quite primary. A little closed. Very good minerality to the palate, with flavours of honey. The wine has a lactic edge with a concentrated, intense, almost Viognier-like weight and texture. Again, the (15%) alcohol shows to the finish. Approachable now. (02/08)

2005 Moulin de Gué  
Polished. Quite deep yellow/gold appearance. Rich, concentrated nose. A bit resinous, with the wood protruding at this stage. Rich, concentrated and silky textured palate with flavours of toasted cereals. Rounded with a creamy, lactic edge. Good acidity. The alcohol shows a little on the finish along with a hint of bitterness. A touch phenolic and falls a little short. Approachable now. (02/08)

2005 Roche aux Moines  
Polished. Mid-full yellow/straw. Closed nose, but quality shows behind. Broad on entry. Rich and concentrated with a good stony, mineral edge. Builds well, but becomes hot, lactic and alcoholic to the finish with some bitterness. This is clumsy and lacking balance. A disappointment for the vintage. 15% alcohol. (02/08)

2004 Roche aux Moines  
Bright. Mid-full straw/yellow. Clean and light on the nose and not very expressive. Good stony profile which thankfully shows above both the (15%) alcohol and the wood. More restrained and balanced overall. Drinking now, but should age and evolve further. (02/08)

2004 Clos du Papillon  
Polished. Mid-depth straw appearance. Rich on the nose. Rounded and fat with flavours of the (100%) malolactic ferment showing. Otherwise the nose is quite muted. Mineral on entry with a good stony character. Mid-full with good structure. Rounded and quite fat on the palate. Big finish. This falls a bit short and lacks some fresh acidity. Drink now. (02/08)

2003 Moulin de Gué  
Polished. Deep yellow/gold. Broad and mature with some coconut. The nose is a bit muted. Broad and oatmealy on the palate and exhibits all the characters of the vintage. It shows ripeness and is quite fat and clumsy with a hot and alcoholic (15%) finish. There are some advanced ageing characters too with a hint of oxidation. Powerful and mineral to the finish, but this is unlikely to age further. Drink now. (02/08)

1996 Clos de Maurièrs  
Mid depth with green hints. Distinctly advanced on the nose and lacks any charm. Rich and fat with firm acidity. This is looking tired. (06/04)

Stephane Branchereau  
Domaine des Forges  

St Aubin-de-Luigne
T: +33 2 41 78 33 56  

F: +33 2 41 78 67 51



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