2019 Domaine du Bel-Air Bourgueil "Les Marsaules", Loire Valley, France
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ABOUT THIS WINE
Pierre Gauthier's Cabernet Francs are deep, age-worthy wines like this Marsaules. Coming from densely-planted 60-year-old vines. Destemmed, 25-day native yeast fermentation in open wood vessels, lengthy elevage in cask.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
Since 1979 Pierre Gauthier, this master of Cabernet Franc, has farmed 18 hectares in the village of Benais—the heart of Bourgueil. With the help of his wife, Catherine, and their son Rodolphe, who joined the Domaine in 2005, Pierre does all of the vineyard work by hand and has been certified organic since 2000. They plow the soil, maintain a cover crop between vineyard rows, use bud-pruning and green harvests to limit their yields to under 40 hl/ha, and thin the canopy three weeks before harvesting. This level of attention to detail is part of the secret to their success.
The Gauthiers treat the cellar with the same immaculate care. In fact, these cellars, containing mostly double barrels, are carved directly out of one of his vineyards in Benais, thus providing natural temperature control. They de-stem 100% of their grapes and employ native yeasts for long cuvaisons of up to 3 weeks. Their Bourgueil “Clos Nouveau” is a relatively recent addition to their lineup—a historic parcel of land, the oldest in Benais, that was once owned by lords of Bellay. Since 2005, they have worked tirelessly to promote the biodiversity in this silica and clay terroir. It is their pride and joy.