Guide to the Loire regions

Val du Loir

Producer profiles - Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir

Domaine le Briseau (2002)

Christian Chaussard started his career off with the local authority before embarking on the life of a vigneron. For a while during the 1990s he owned an estate in Vouvray but couldn’t make it pay, so he bummed around the States for a year, finally settling in Oregon, although he was not involved in the wine business in the State. He met Nathalie, Swiss actress cum sommelier on his travels and together they decided to start their own domaine. They arrived in the Loir in 2002 and began looking for vineyards and a cellar. They settled just outside the village of Marçon, finding a house with a large cave attached and started acquiring vineyards, most of which came from Jean-Michel Aubert in the village. The name of the domaine is taken from one of the original parcels of vines that the couple bought in Marçon. 

Wine Overview 
By 2008 the couple had acquired a total of ten hectares, including two in le Clos des Longues Vignes in Jasnières, where some Pineau d’Aunis vines are also planted. In the Coteaux du Loir, they have a 50 year old parcel of Pineau d’Aunis in le Grand Clos -a particularly distinguished site - and in les Mortiers between La Chartre and Marçon. The proportion of vines is split equally between Chenin and Pineau d’Aunis, although they also have a little Côt too. Since the start, the vines have all been worked organically and they are certified with Qualité France and their own charter ensures everything is harvested by hand. In the cellar, all the whites go through malolactic fermentation and are aged in second hand Burgundy barrels sourced from Drouhin. Chaussard states that he finds greater purity here than in Vouvray for the Chenin. In addition to the wines that they make in the appellations here, they also have a négociant business where they buy fruit from a diverse selection of sources including the Ardèche and generic AC Touraine.

The Wines :
These are serious wines made with serious intent, although based on the wines tasted below I found the white wines atypical due to the systematic use of malolactic fermentation. They are also very much on the edge when it comes to tolerance of volatile acidity. Chaussard made no dry white wines in 2006.

2006 Jasnières ‘Kharaktêr’
From vines at the top of Le Clos des Longues Vignes. Bright. Mid-pale. Yellow/straw. High toned nose and distinctly volatile on the palate. Dry, mineral and austere. Yeasty and autolytic, and also very lactic from the secondary fermentation. The volatility is concerning. Best drink soon. (12/08)

2004 Jasnières ‘Clos des Longues Vignes’
Produced from grapes taken from the best part of the parcel. Polished. Good density. Yellow/straw. Rich but dry with a firm mineral nose and palate. Good, flesh and broad on entry with good concentration. Tropical flavours with white truffle and a little ‘organic’. The oak is noticeable on the finish, but is well integrated. A bit dried out perhaps and certainly atypical for the appellation. More Burgundian in style. Drinking now, but should age and evolve. Finish is a bit short. (12/08)

2005 Coteaux du Loir Blanc ‘Le Briseau’
Bright. Very deep orange/bronze. Aromas of cloves and white truffle, but also quite lactic. The palate is more open and shows obvious sweetness (80g/l). With flavours of crème caramel. Also a touch of salinity behind the sweetness. Very fresh and well balanced with a good broad spectrum of flavours. Delicate but rich. Drinking well now, but should evolve. More passillerage than botrytis. (12/08)

2006 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘La Dérobée’
From around 90% Pineau d’Aunis with Côt. Polished. Deep appearance. Youthful ruby red. Dense fruit character on the nose, although not obviously Pineau d’Aunis on first sniff. Broad, creamy, vanilla flavours on the palate. Soft tannins and well structured. Pepper and spice to finish. The small proportion of Côt adds density. Drinking now, but could be expected to age further. (12/08)

Domaine le Briseau
Christian & Nathalie Chaussard
Les Nérons
T: + 33 2 43 44 58 53
F: + 33 2 43 44 58 53

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