Based in the tiny village of Saint-Julien-de-Chédon (which doesn’t seem much changed since the 17th century), Jean-Francois’s property stretches to almost 35 hectares planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cot, Pineau d’Aunis, Gamay, and Chardonnay. Many of the vines are quite old including the Pineau d’Aunis which is over 100 years old and the Cot (the youngest of which are 50 years old and the oldest over 100.) Unlike most Touraine producers, the vineyards are plowed and the property is in conversion to organic certification. No commercial yeasts are used in the vinification.
The winery is based on a rich history that stretches back for generations. It’s not unusual to see three generations in the winery at the same time. Much of the winery and tasting room is in a cave that was carved during the time of the Knights Templar (14th century). The “new” structure that houses many of the tanks was used by American soldiers during World War I and some left inscriptions on the walls.
The wines, however, are anything but old-fashioned. The Sauvignon Blanc bottlings benefit from the rich clay and limestone soil and are exotic and often rich with underlying brightness and acidity. The old vine Gamay and Cot are snappy with delicious, lingering fruit. The sparkling is hand-harvested, vintage Touraine with little dosage. It’s the real deal in Touraine.