Chateau de Minière has a tradition of being run by women over the centuries and Kathleen Van den Berghe who has recently taken over this Bourgueil estate is intent on maintaining it.
This will eventually become a delightful tasting/event area for guests
The tuffeau chateau dates back to the 17th century and has always been managed by women. It was in the same family for 2 centuries and then another family until 2010. Kathleen, (who works in construction) and her husband (who works in mining) fell in love with the chateau and are now intent on seeing this beautifully situated estate back on the map.
There have been changes since they took over the property - restoration work is well under way to produce a lovely tasting room in the chateau, a new winemaker has been employed (Eric Goujat who has 10 years experience of working in Montlouis), a small parcel has been replanted, missing vines replaced and new barrels purchased. Kathleen is a perfectionist and is looking to make big improvements in wine quality over the next few years. Purchase of the property took some time so she bought the base wine in July 2009 from the former owners to ensure that they had some wine to sell and the 2010 vintage was vinified by them under the control of the previous winemaker.
The 2011 vintage will be under their total control from grape to bottle so it will be interesting to see how the wines evolve over time.
There are around 18 hectares in total - around 2-3 in the walled clos, another 2-3 just outside with the remainder up on the nearby hill. Around 1 hectare of vines are 100 years old.
To the wines - obviously what is available now is not necessarily in the style of what will come in the future but here are my notes for the wines we tasted during our visit.
Chateau de Minière Rose 2010
Peachy apricot tones, clear and bright. Quite creamy, peachy, soft slightly lactic style on the nose. Cream soda - nice and dry on the palate.
Chevalier de Minière 2010
Nice fresh purpley colour. A little sharp on the palate, quite high acidity on the palate with a bitterness that comes through on the finish. Could use some time to soften up a bit.
Chateau de Minière 2009
Deep blackberry colour. Seems lighter in style than the Chevalier although it should be the other way round. Again, quite high acidity and quite a lot of tannin at the end although nice bramble fruit on the mid-palate.
Vieilles Vignes 2009
Part of this wine has been aged in barrels (2 wine Bordeaux). More concentration on the nose, quite aromatic. Much softer and lighter on the palate than the previous two wines. Tannins are more gentle and rounded - better.
Chateau de Minière 2008
Nice sweet bramble fruit on the nose that is missing on the 09. A hint of violets and blueberries on the palate Lightish in weight and tannins less present. Ok for drinking now.
Vieilles Vignes 2005
Deeper rubyish colour. More savoury on the nose with a slightly animal quality. Ripe stone fruit comes through on the mid-palate. Quite a bit of tannin and a dry finish.
To summarise - expect to see some big changes at this estate over the next few years. Perched along the cycle route in Bourgueil it is perfectly situated and after the restorations are finished it will be a very pretty property indeed. Kathleen has a very clear vision of what she is hoping to achieve and we can expect it to become a good wine tourism venue. Watch this space.