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.
2016 Coteaux du Loir ‘Rouge-Gorge’ this rare red is made from the very rare and interesting Pinot d’Aunis, a grape that has the aromatic mystique and perfume of the Bazaars and Souks of the old orient. Rose, pepper, smoke, licorice, tobacco….enchanting and it is sad that only 40 hectares remain in the Loire today. This is cherry red with very attractive aromas of pepper, musk and five spice overlapped with cherry and damson. As always it is crisply fruited and buoyant in the mouth where it dances around joyously. This very rare wine will cellar for up to 10 years but is extremely attractive young for it’s vibrancy and attack. – only 24 btl available