Chateau de Fesles
— About —
GETTING TO KNOW BONNEZEAUX
HOW TO PRONUNCE
The Bonnezeaux appellation sits within a small part of a single commune – Thouarcé – on the right bank of the river Layon across three south-facing slopes.
To put it in context of the greater region Bonnezeaux sits on the south side of the Loire River with its neighbour Quarts de Chaume, Loire’s only Grand Cru AOP (brought to fame in particular by Domaine de Baumard) just a few kilometres North West, also bordering the Layon, the smaller tributary of the Loire.
Going East of the appellation you find Anjou AOP and further still Saumur Champigny.
As with many of the great sweet wines produced around the world the relationship to this small river is key in forming the precise microclimate required for botrytis (Noble rot) to occur on the grapes.
There seem to be differing opinions from various sources however it seems to be somewhere between 70 and 80 hectares in total. At present there are approximately 40 producers in the appellation.
Chateau de Fesles in fact own 25% of the total plantings in the Bonnezeaux AOP but chooses not vinify all these grapes into Bonnezeaux, using some of the Chenin Blanc plantings for their Cremant, Coteau du Layon and Anjou Blanc.
Unlike the limestone calcareous soils found in Vouvray across the Loire to the North Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume share a similar soil of sandstone schist & quartz over clay
Rules of production
>Must be 100% Chenin Blanc
> Hand harvested
> No ‘manipulated concentration (ie by freezing berries). All the ‘concentration’ must be on the vineyard via botrytis or late picking. You can’t dry the berries post harvest in the winery such as the appessimento method
> Interestingly the minimum residual sugar only needs to be 25 grams per litre however most bottlings are far higher than this and stylistically the region is famous for higher levels of sugar from Bonnezeaux.