Christian Chaussard, like the proverbial cat, was a man who lived several lives. After years spent in the public works sector, he focused on learning viticulture and oenology, then teaching those in a professional school while running his estate in Vouvray. A series of climactic hardships forced him to abandon his estate, so he also quit teaching and decided to be a winemaker in the “new world.”
This visit to Domaine Le Briseau took place in July, 2013.
Words by Jules Dressner, photos by Jules Dressner and John Kafarski.
Apart from biodynamic viticulture, the following harvesting and cellar practices are followed:
-The harvest is done by hand in 10kg boxes.
-The white grapes are pressed lightly and slowly.
-Débourbage (first racking to separate solid matter from juice) takes place after 24 hours, then the must goes into barrels for the alcoholic fermentation (none of the barrels are new, but rather 4 to 8 years old.) Malolactic fermentation usually follows and is not stopped by any means.
-Nothing is added: there is no chaptalization, no selected yeasts, no sulfur, no enzymes, no de-acidification, no fining.
-There is one racking to get rid of the wine’s gross lees, and then aging for several months, according to each cuvée.
-There is a light filtration and addition of 2g/HL of sulfur at the time of bottling.
-The red grapes are tread by foot before going into maceration vats.
-Maceration occurs under the protection of CO2, in a semi-liquid stage (semi-carbonic maceration) and lasts 1 to 3 weeks. The musts are then pressed and go into barrels for their alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. Again, nothing is added to the wines and the same principles are used at bottling.
Wines of Domaine le Briseau: