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DOMAINE LE BRISEAU, NATHALIE GAUBICHER

Nathalie Gaubicher was a Swiss actress with an oenologist and sommelier diploma, who set out to find vines somewhere in France. In 2002 she settled in the Jasnières/Coteaux-du-Loir area in northern Touraine. The entirety of Jasnières covers eighty hectares of vines so pretty small, and Coteaux-du-Loir about two hundred hectares. The soils are largely all clay and silica over a subsoil of limestone, and Domaine le Briseau was started with four hectares of vines planted mainly with Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis. In 2007, the estate had grown to eleven hectares. All vineyard work is done according to the principles of organic viticulture (with the certification of Qualité France): no pesticides, insecticides or chemical fertilizers are used; nettle and horsetail are sprayed on the foliage; copper is used in modest quantity (less than 5kg/ha); the vines are ploughed and grass allowed to grow between the rows. In 2006, the estate started its conversion to biodynamic principles. 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 twenty-four hours, then the must goes into barrels for the alcoholic fermentation (none of the barrels are new, but rather four to eight year old.) Malolactic fermentation usually follows and is not stopped by any means. Nothing is added: there is no chaptalisation, no selected yeasts, no sulphur, no enzymes, no de-acidification, no fining. There is one racking to get rid of the wine’s gross lees, and then ageing for several months, according to each cuvée. There is a light filtration and addition of 2g/hl of sulphur at the time of bottling. The red grapes are trodden by foot before going into maceration vats. Maceration occurs under the protection of carbon dioxide in a semi-liquid stage (semi-carbonic maceration) and lasts one to three weeks. The musts are then pressed and go into barrels for their alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Again, nothing is added to the wines and the same principles are used at bottling.