Domaine de la Taille aux Loups | Montlouis

Montlouis in the Loire Valley, France

In 1988, Jacky Blot set up Domaine de la Taille aux Loups attempting to drag the Montlouis appellation out of the shadows of its famous neighbour, Vouvray. Jacky is one of the world’s greatest exponents of the Chenin Blanc variety, his 45 hectares of vines are planted with nothing else. His viticultural philosophy sees him working closely with nature; fertilisation is now an extinct practice, chemical treatments are practically non-existent and pruning is radically short, keeping yields down to an average 25 hectolitres per hectare. At harvest time picking is by hand, successive tris are undertaken and a severe grape selection is carried out. The wines are then vinified in Bordeaux barriques, both new and old (depending on the particular cuvée) in cool rock-hewn cellars. In Taille aux Loups Jacky has created a domaine that clearly demonstrates the potential Chenin has for producing some of the world’s greatest, and longest lived white wines.

Remus is the domaine's 'Entry' level cuvée and is a blend of multiple parcels from around the village, comprising vines aged between 20-100 years old. Pretty smart vine age for the first wine in a range of wines. The various plots takes in most of the different soil types found around Montlouis, alongside a few declassified barrels from the single vineyard sites. In effect 'Remus' represents the snapshot of Montlouis in a given vintage and offers Jacky Blot brilliance at a great price.

Clos Mosny is a large and historically important vineyard that Jacky is bringing back to former glories. Of the 12 hectares under vine within the Clos, only half make the grade for this cuvée. The soils are made up of sandy clay and flint, with clay and limestone underneath and the vines are south-facing on a gentle incline. This is a wine that combines ripeness with tension and marvellous fruit.

Hauts de Husseau (formerly Remus Plus) was renamed for the 2015 vintage and is a single plot of 70-90 year old vines chosen for its interesting geology. It is the highest vineyard in the appellation with very thin flinty soils covering a bed of limestone. The wines are racy, precise and taut but also highly refined.

Clos de la Bretonniere, Vin de France (Vouvray) is a named vineyard of 4 Hectares on Vouvray's renowned 'Premiere Cote', where the appellations finest wines come from. Owing to a dispute with the INAO, as of the 2014 vintage these wines can no longer carry the name Vouvray as they are vinified in Montlouis at Jacky's domaine. Though of course, whilst the label calls them Vin de France, the wine in the bottle is all Vouvray.

Clos de Venise, Vin de France (Vouvray) is a top quality single hectare south facing vineyard again on Vouvray's renowned 'Premiere Cote'. The vines here sit in limestone with a sprinkling of clay and flint on the surface and the resulting wines are some of the appellations finest.