The Joyful Aristocrat
“I want my vines to feel free and happy – I think it leads to more joyful wines,” Evelyne said as we discussed a tiny patch of bush vines in the grounds of Château des Vaults (previously and better known as Domaine du Closel).
Chenin Blanc is most typically trained along wires as it is easier to manage vine growth during the all-important summer, when the plant channels its energy into producing shoots and leaves. Evelyne was however experimenting with letting some vines grow unassisted, close to the ground, curious to see what the effects were on the grapes and wine. That she chose old vines in her top vineyard for the trial speaks to her commitment to make the best possible wines; that she couldn’t resist cracking a half-joke speaks to her unbridled enthusiasm for life and wine.
In turn, we often like to joke that we don’t work with aristocrats, but would make an exception for someone as gracious and charming as Evelyne. Her family traces its roots back many centuries, and their château is a curious melange of different architectural styles, with each generation feeling the need to add a wing here, a wall elsewhere. The wines are similar, from lands which have been husbanded through the various wars and upheavals, and largely planted to Chenin Blanc.
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