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2015 Bourgueil “Les Galichets”

Catherine & Pierre Breton

2015 Bourgueil “Les Galichets” Catherine & Pierre Breton - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

The philosophy at Domaine Breton can be summed up by this quote from Jules Chauvet, known as the godfather of natural wine: “To succeed in wine, as in life, one must live dangerously.” Controlled risk-taking is indeed a fundamental element of winemaking with Catherine and Pierre Breton, from their reliance on ambient yeasts for fermentation to their scrupulous use of sulfur and decision to bottle reds unfiltered. But with more than twenty-five harvests under their belt, this fun-loving couple has mastered the nuances of crafting world-class wines using these methods. This cuvée showcases 50 year-old Cabernet Franc vines planted on gravelly, alluvial soils not far from the banks of the Loire. It is an irresistible Bourgueil, rife with peppery aromas (paprika, black pepper) and ripe red fruits. It has structure, yet the finesse of its tannins allows them to glide over the palate almost unnoticed, enabling uninhibited quaffing. Chauvet would have been proud!

Anthony Lynch

Vintage: 2015
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Chinon
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Catherine & Pierre Breton
Winemaker: Catherine & Pierre Breton
Vineyard: 50 years, 3 ha
Soil: Gravel
Aging: Wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered after one year in stainless steel
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 12%

More from this Producer or Region

About Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.


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