Domaine Francois Chidaine
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About Domaine Francois Chidaine
Across the Loire, Montlouis is Vouvray’s little brother, smaller in both size and reputation. With only 400 hectares, and half of those devoted to producing Touraine wines, production under the Montlouis AOC is nearly a moot point, unless one were to talk to Francois Chidaine. In the village of Husseau, Francois Chidaine has worked alongside his father Yves for many years on two independent estates. Francois has strong feelings about viticulture, and works his vines the old fashioned way, but does not want any mention of organic viticulture on his bottles although he is certified organic. He writes: “Wine is born from the vine, not from artificial skills of recreation in the winery. It is sufficient to start modestly by working the soil.” His estate of 16 hectares is made up of eight distinct plots: Clos du Breuil; Clos Habert; le Volagray and les Landes (both containing soil composed of clay with a type of flint locally called “Perruches”). Clos Renard and les Epinais (with clay and limestone called “Aubuis”); and les Bournais, which was recently planted overlooking the Loire, and consists of clay and a type of limestone called Bournais. Chidaine prefers to pick his grapes at a good degree of ripeness, to avoid the need for any dosage. They are pure, crystalline efforts with the freshness and liveliness of youth and exuberance, yet have the temerity and complexity to age gracefully for decades.