Chateau de Fesles
— Portfolio —
BONNEZEAUX 2015 37.5cl
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. 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. Chateau de Fesles own 25% of the total plantings of Bonnezeaux. All of their vineyards dedicated to the production of this wine are situated on the slopes, sandstone Schist & clay.
There are multiple pickings done throughout the harvest with differing levels of maturation and botrytis. The vinification is done exclusively in French oak. No malolactic. Aged in barrel for approximately 10 to 15 months. By law Bonnezeaux only needs to be a minimum of 25 grams residual sugar per litre however on average for Chaateau de Fesles sits around 140 g/l.
ANJOU BLANC ‘LA CHAPELLE’ VIELLES VIGNES 2018
Although the Chateau is famous for it’s sweet Bonnezeaux wine for me this dry Chenin Blanc is just lovely. Not the long aging potential perhaps of say Savennières but this has an opulence and generosity pinned together with the variety’s trademark acidity that makes it delightful to enjoy immediately.
The grapes for this wine come almost exclusively from the La Chapelle plot which sit’s at the top of the slope near to the Chateau. I say exclusively as in some vintages they will blend in parcels from the Bonnezeaux designated vineyards prior to the grapes forming botrytis.
Hand picked, pressed, settled then fermented in a variety of vessels. 50% of the juice is fermented in barrel, ranging from 400ltr to 1200ltr of which some are made from Accacia wood (approx 15% of the barrel component), selected due to its wider grain to promote micro-oxygenation to soften some of Chenin’s natural phenolics/bitterness, albeit Pierre-Jean (winemaker) tells me they have been reducing the use of this type of oak due to global warming/riper grapes at harvest. The oak is a rough blend of 1/3 new with the rest between 2 to 3 years old. The barrel component of the blend spends between 12 to 18 months aging.
The remaining 50% of the wine is vinified in tank and blended with the barrel component after aging. No malolactic fermentation for barrel or tank fermentations.
The Chateau has plantings of Cabernet Franc both on the plateau on the east side of the Chateau where this is a larger percentage of gravel amongst the schist plus a 4 hectare plot a few kilometers away separate to the hill plantings with a higher clay content. Vinified in tank with a mixture of whole berries and crushed fruit. Aged in tank for a further 4 to 6 months then a further 6 months in bottle before release. No oak.