Discovering Ampelidae (Loire Valley)

For the 2020 harvest I went to Ampelidae, in the Loire Valley region, more precisely in Vienna, about ten kilometers from Poitiers.

Présentation of Ampelidae

Ampelidae was created in 1995 by Frédéric Brochet, a pioneer of organic wines, and means vines in Latin. According to the different cuvees it is labeled in Val de Loire IGP or  Vin de France. It is not located in one of the prestigious AOC from Loire Valley, but it does not need this to produce nice wines ! It should be noted that the vineyards of Marigny have a historical wine heritage, with some traces of vines date back to the 11th century and nicknamed, the «Pauillac of the  Vienna»! (Source : official website ). 

The property has “80 hectares of vines, plus 65 hectares from other winemakers as an exclusive partner”. The vines are led in Organic Agriculture. The vast majority of the wines produced are Sauvignon.

BThere are many different cuvées: Ampelidae, Marigny, but also the famous «Blanc d’hiver» which is very popular in the region, by its friendly, accessible part, and its slightly sweet touch. The «Brochet» range has an incredible success in Sweden where 1700 bottles are sold every day (for the year 2020) !

If you want to know more about the different wines produced, you can take a look on the official website, you will discover approximately 20 different cuvees !

So I had the chance to meet the current owners, Kate and Benjamin Meuli, and stay at the Château des Roches. It is not the animations that have missed, nor the wines!

– Start : 

Tasting of 2 Sauvignons blancs and 1 Sauvignon gris, all three with distinct characters. My personal preference will go to the Sauvignon Gris «Brochet Reserve» for its slightly tart character, with a good and measured balance between freshness and richness of the fruits.

Harvest and tasting of the different parcels of Ampelidae :

Presentation of the famous parcel of Pinot Noir «PN1328», historical at the estate, which produces a wine of a beautiful aromatic intensity, as pleasant to drink as to appreciate the subtleties.

Tasting of some of the plots that fit into the final blend of the «S», each one from high quality with a distinct identity. My favorite one was the «Pelotterie», with expressive notes of fruit, but also a certain mineral character bringing deepness. Enough to create some parcelled special cuvées one day !

Visit the areas in vintage cars : 

Benjamin and Kate have a very nice collection ! The opportunity to visit the areas in the mythicTraction and DS. It is difficult to choose which one is the best, as these cars that cross the ages are beautiful and comfortable !

Cheese part :

Tasting a wide range of goat cheese with different maturations at the fromagerie Coudret A mandatory destination for all the “Chabi” aficionados ! Again, the Sauvignon Gris Brochet Reserve made its effect, bringing nice fruity notes, and cutting the cheese material with a good acidity.

Dinner and tasting of the Ampelidae’s range on two different vintages :

Apéritive with the sparkling « Armance B » Brut Rosé from Frédéric Brochet, from the Gamay grape, of great delicacy. 

Then Dinner at the Château des Roches to observe the evolution of the cuvées through two vintages: “Le S” (2007/2015) for the wines made from Sauvignon grapes, “Le K”, (2005/2015) for the wines made from Cabernet, and “PN 1328” for Pinot Noir (2007/2015).

A very nice moment where the cuvées were able to show all their brilliance, especially the cuvée «Le K» elaborated from the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

«Le K 2005» has magnificent notes of red fruits, plus a torrefied side, some hints of vanilla, and always a pleasant freshness on the palate. A very nice wine ! (92/100)

«Le K 2015» shows nice deepness, with notes of blackberries, plum and spices. With a lot of deepness but also a lot of freshness. The tannic concentration offers intensity, but also finesse in a beautiful length. Very well done ! (91/100)

Dîner chez Ampelidae avec la cuvée Le K
Dîner chez Ampelidae avec la cuvée Le K

Again big program the next day ! 

New visit during the harvest, interviewed by the local press (whoa !) then visit the cellars and tasting of different lots.

Fermentation chez Ampelidae
Fermentation at Ampelidae

A pleasant picnic was organised followed with a focus on Marigny’s references. This time I retained the rosé for its fruity character, but also for its tension with a nice balance on the length. The white Marigny based on Sauvignon has an excellent freshness.

The forgotten “Pet Nat” 

degustation pet nat
tasting pet nat

During the visit of the cellars some dusty bottles stayed in a corner, like if they had been forgotten. According to my enthusiasm and my curiosity we opened one ! And such a pleasure to discover a wine with still freshness, an effervescence still present, with nice notes of apples. I loved it ! My friend Arnaud offered me a bottle, which I consider like a treasure, and I enjoyed it, the time of a sunset when I returned to Bordeaux. Thank you so much!

The end 

An intense trip with many good wines tasted and many pleasant moments ! Thank you to the whole Ampelidae team, the owners, Kate and Benjamin Meuli, Arnaud Pecriaux, and the Rouge Granit agency (Anne Georget) for this lovely moment. I am also glad  to meet other «instagramers»! Feel free to visit their accounts: wine.and.lust ;geekettecuisine; lesbonspetitsvins; cyril_mntg.  Their contents are great and will make you hungry !

Xavier LACOMBE 

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