Eric Nicolas produces some of the best wines of the Loire Valley and has a genial touch with Chenin Blanc.
Following his escape from a career as a petrochemical engineer with ‘Total’ he arrived with his family in Lhomme in 1994. He had arranged to rent 12 hectares of vines from Michel Boulay, but after the first season (when he lost 85% of his crop to frost), Boulay reneged on their agreement and took the vineyards back, offering them to another newcomer, Nicolas Renard, who stayed in the region only for one or two seasons. Without any vines, or a home, The Nicolas family began to search for old and often abandoned plots of vines, buying 1.5 hectares of vacant land in Jasnières which they would still need to plant. They restarted their enterprise in 1995 with just 3.5 hectares in the Coteaux du Loir.
Today they have amassed a total of 17 hectares of rented or purchased vineyards (12ha of which are in Jasnières) across fifty parcels over the five communes of Lhomme, Ruillé-sur-Loir, Chahaignes, Marçon and Dissay-sous-Courcillon. All their plantings were by sélection massale (cuttings from old vines) rather than clones, and at a density of 9,300 vines per hectare.
2013 Coteaux du Loir Rouge ‘Rouge Gorge’ is named after a breed of small, red breasted birds that show up at the winery each spring. It is a very rare red wine produced from the rare Pinot d’Anuis grape Tasting note: This is an excellent release of this wine, as always it is medium bodied and has an enchanting aroma of redcurrants and raspberries aligned to the sort of seductive and carnal scents you might imagine in a Turkish bazaar – roses, spice, incense etc. I imagine this wine would be wonderful with anything gently spiced and it’s silken texture means that it is incredibly delicious !