le tasting room

Loire wine tours, tastings, day trips from Paris & short breaks organised by experienced English wine trade professionals.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Lionel Gosseaume - Domaine de Pierre

We called in to see Lionel Gosseaume of Domaine St Pierre yesterday to purchase a few bottles having tasted his wines at the recent Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers. It was wild and windy with a constant drizzle but this did nothing to stem the enthusiasm of Lionel who drove us around his vineyards telling us all about the various parcels that make up the 9ha of vines on sand and clay in Touraine he currently rents. He's keen to point out that Sauvignon Blanc has a much longer history in Touraine than in the arguably more famous appellation of Sancerre and shares with us his approach in the vineyard, aimed at achieving quality while maintaining aroma and balance.

Currently, Lionel shares facilities and machinery with his brother but hopes one day to be independent and have his own. He's a young vigneron who until recently was also working for the Syndicat Agricole advising other new growers but now concentrates his efforts solely on his own production He rents his vineyards from an older more established grower who was initially a little wary of his modern approach but has proved to be a great support and this has given him the flexibility to trial various methods of viticulture for himself.

One peculiarity is that he has a tiny surace area of a near distinct grape variety called Meslier St Francois. Around 30 ares are pruned like the one in the photo above 3 or 4 x 2 buds. He tells us that this grape was once widely planted, was productive and had a reputation for high acidity. It was grown and then sent to Germany for the production of sparkling wines. Noone else around has any of this grape planted any more (not that they would know if they did). It's extremely rare and he says that he finds it has great acidity, a lovely floral style and a real capacity for ageing. The grapes are large and very sensitive to rot so selective harvesting is essential. He calls it a cépage doublement oublié (a doubly forgotten variety!). At the Salon we tasted a wine that he has made from 50% Sauvignon 50% Meslier St Francois. On the nose it was very interesting with a tropical note, hints of papaya, apricots and nettles. On the palate a grassy background and a flinty smokiness give way to a very dry finish. Still in tank - it remains unnamed.

Lionel produces a range of wines including two distinctly different Sauvignons, a rosé and a Gamay.

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