Our first and lasting impression of François is just how exact he seems, not in a cold, mechanical way, but rather like a genial mathematics teacher who will make sure you understand calculus. Perhaps it’s his training and previous profession as a psychoanalyst, but we think he must always have been like this. When asked, he laughs and shrugs it off, saying that his childhood was a long time ago. Whatever the case, his personality comes through each and every wine he makes – these are some of the most wonderfully poised Vouvrays we’ve ever had, with plenty of character and style.
This is largely due to his meticulous vineyard and cellar work, which he goes about without fuss or drama. The pruning is short (i.e. low yields) and tidy, the ploughing thorough yet gentle, the harvest completely manual, and the ferementations and elevage unhurried. He prefers a gentle hint of bitterness in his Vouvrays, noting that it’s characteristic of the older wines, which comes from the skins and seeds. The wines are always balanced, no matter their age, and with air they unfurl like spring blossoms, the initial notes (be it quince, or jasmine) receding to allow the earthier, mineral notes through.
It’s always a pleasure visiting him, walking through the various parcels, talking about the weather, and then settling down to taste through the various wines, first from cask, then from bottle, and then back to the casks for the young sweet wines. We take our time with the wines, and we leave feeling like we’ve learnt something, and are better people for it.