During the Ice Age, the River Loire deposited terraced layers of sand, gravel and clay as it made its way inexorably towards the Atlantic.  Much of what is now the right bank is planted with the noble Cabernet Franc grape, known locally as le Breton.  It is here in the appellation of St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil that the grape thrives on the complex mix of soils and the gentle, maritime-influenced climate.  The relatively long growing season allows it to express itself in all its fragrant glory.

 

Carine Rezé is the fifth generation of the Mabileau family to make wine at La Jarnoterie and we have known her for over 20 years.  A visit here clearly illustrates the passion and commitment that she and her husband Didier show towards their land and of course, their precious vines, some of which are over 60 years old.  The chai is modern and immaculate and illustrates their desire to use technology as well as tradition.  Their success is well illustrated in their award-winning wines.

La Jarnoterie is surrounded by neat, well-tended vines, but it is the family cellar, the Caves de Cochamtorille, that will captivate your imagination.  We will never forget our first visit. Carine’s father, Jean-Claude Mabileau, leapt enthusiastically into his car and drove off into his vines.  We just managed to keep up.  Suddenly he was gone – swallowed up by a gaping hole that seemed to appear from nowhere in the low escarpment.  We switched on our headlights and followed.  Eventually we came to a large turning area, at the sides of which loomed large wrought iron gates.  Ahead, the family cellar where the current vintage was gently maturing in the traditional chestnut barrels, to the left a magnificent private banqueting chamber dominated by a huge circular stone table and overlooked by an enormous fireplace.  This is where we dine on one of our group visits, drinking our own wine directly beneath our own vineyard!