Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer Profiles – Coteaux du Vendômois

Jean & Benoît Brazilier

Jean Brazilier

Jovial Jean Braziler has a tyrefitter’s grip of a handshake. Benoît, his rugby playing son, represents the seventh generation of Braziliers to have worked vineyards in Thoré-la-Rochette. He joined his father in 1997 and although only in his mid-thirties is the current head of the wine growers syndicate. Together, they farm 25 hectares of vines, a significant holding in these parts. Ten of these are family owned and mostly replanted by Jean himself over the past 25 years. In addition to the domaine vineyards, they also rent a further ten hectares from a retired vigneron. In total, fifteen hectares are under the appellation Coteaux du Vendômois, but they also produce Vin de Pays using Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and some Gamay. For the appellation wines, they tend four hectares of Chenin Blanc, five of Pineau d’Aunis and seven of Cabernet Franc. There are also a couple of hectares of Pinot Noir planted too.

Wine Overview :
Apart from the occasional moëlleux, all grapes are harvested by machine. The old cellar is situated in a cave directly below the plateau that hosts the vineyards. Today, this is used for storage as a slightly rustic looking purpose built facility next to the cave was erected in 1997. The majority of the wines are vinified in fibre glass tanks, with 90% of ferments using indigenous yeast. In addition to the white red and gris table wines, some Méthode Traditionnelle is produced from a base of Chenin Blanc. They sell part of their production to the négoce.

The Wines
There is no doubt that the Braziliers are both an important and serious producer within the appellation. The quality of the wines is good and they are both honest and authentic. On the basis of the tasting below, they are a reliable source, and although they fail to reach the giddy heights of their potential, they are still competent and should be bought with confidence.

2007 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Tradition’
Polished. Straw-yellow. Mid depth. True varietal nose. Clean and mineral with distinct smoky, wet wool, gunflint and reductive aromas. Bone dry on entry with good flesh that helps carry the austerity. There are some Riesling like flavours here. Good structure and focus; just falls a little short, perhaps. Taut, dry and mineral with fresh, juicy acidity and good grip on the finish. Very good. Authentic. Lovely now. Will age further. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘L’Ocre Jean’                                            
A sec-tendre vinified and raised in barrique for twelve months. The label is by Philippe Berthommier, an artist and family friend, and named after Jean’s daughter. Pale straw. Bright. Clean but muted nose. The palate is more expressive. Dry on entry, but with some noticeable residual sugar. Very good Chenin expression. Linear, with fresh acidity and very good balance. There is evidence of the oak, but this is very restrained. Approachable now, but would be expected to age. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge ‘Tradition’
40% Pineau d’Aunis/40% Cabernet Franc/20% Pinot Noir. Deep appearance. Youthful purple rim. Broad nose. Attractive, with red and black fruits. A little ‘savoury’ on the palate. Quite taut and grippy with some herbal character. Falls a bit short and lacks definition and structure. There is some good Pineau d’Aunis spice to the finish. Slightly rustic in style. Drinking now, but will age further. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Vendômois Rouge ‘Rochambeau 1807-2007’
Born in Vendôme in 1725, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, was a French aristocrat, soldier who participated in the American Civil War. The date signifies the bicentenary of his death. This is a Cabernet Franc dominated, Pineau d’Aunis blend. Broad and rich and shows the ripeness of the vintage on the nose. Good concentration and slightly savoury. Soft on entry. Builds well. Taut, with good structure and grip. Slightly warm on the finish. This is distinctly more Cabernet Franc like, with very little evidence of the Pineau d’Aunis. Chalky textured finish. This is drinking now, but would benefit from keeping. (12/08)

2002 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Cuvée du Clos Courtin’
Made in most years, this is a demi-sec with around 35 g/l of residual sugar and comes from vines within the commune. Polished. Mid depth, straw-yellow. A bit rustic on the nose. Sweetness shows on entry and is pretty simple with some flavours of liquorish. There is a striking thread of acidity on the finish, but falls a bit short. Simple sweet and sour profile. Drinking now, but should age. Not particularly distinguished. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Le Haut Parc’
Vendange Tardive, produced primarily from desiccated berries this vintage. Polished. Mid-full. Straw/yellow/gold. Attractive, marzipan like nose, although somewhat atypical Chenin: it smells and tastes more Alsatian than Loire . Good texture and well balanced. A fresh, lively style. Very delicate and refined. Drinking now, but will age and evolve. Around 120g/l residual sugar. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc ‘Le Haut Parc’
Vendange Tardive, but in 2006 mainly using botrytis affected fruit. Polished. Yellow/gold with green hints. Very attractive nose, showing the botrytis with aromas of quince and orange peel. Very good acidity on entry. Powerful and concentrated with more flavours of orange rind, together with apples and pears. There is an austere edge and noticeable volatile acidity. Chalky textured and dry to finish. Less good on the palate and the VA may increase with time. Best drunk young. (12/08)

1976 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc
Polished. Deepening yellow/gold yet retains some green hints. Lovely, broad and open nose with aromas of coconut. Rich, gentle and still holding up. On the palate, still fresh and lively, with great delicacy. Surprisingly dry, with flavours of quince. Still youthful, with good minerality, structure and length. Old fashioned, well preserved with true Chenin character. A curiosity. Drink now or should hold a few more years. (12/08)

1973 Coteaux du Vendômois Blanc
Polished. Mid-full. Distinctly green hints. Riper and sweeter on the nose than the 1976. More confit, with old fashioned Chenin character. Rustic, but still very pretty on the nose. Complex on entry with flavours of coconut, gorse and marzipan with an impression of something green and herbal. Rich, but still balanced by a strict acidity. There is still great freshness here. Taut and mineral still, with a chalky texture. This is true Vouvray-like Loire Chenin. No rush to drink. Very good. (12/08)

Jean & Benoît Brazilier
Domaine du Carroir
17 Rue des Ecoles
T: + 33 2 54 72 81 72
F: + 33 2 54 72 77 13


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