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Pont Bourceau VdF, Julien Delrieu 2020
Julien in 2014 was the driving force behind Les Roches Sèches, a domaine he created with two friends before splitting up in 2017, at which point he set out on his own with 3.5ha of vines around Faveraye-Mâchelles. A kind, sensitive and soft-spoken vigneron with a strong thirst for knowledge: as well as being a bee-keeper (a passion depicted on his labels), he studied winemaking in Dijon, brewed beer with monks in Belgium, made cheese in Italy and researched sake yeasts in Japan!
Returning to France he chose the Loire for its proximity to Brittany (where he grew up), and worked with two Vouvray growers, Vincent Carême and Sébastien Brunet, before settling down in the black Anjou. Moved by wines from Richard Leroy and Mark Angéli among others and enthralled by the electric quality of chenin on schist, Julien chose the (then) affordable Coteaux du Layon for his first project, Les Roches Sèches, in 2010.
Nowadays Julien rents a barn at the back of a farm, a rudimentary and DIY set up where wild-yeasts fermentations are carried out in fibreglass and oak, and sulphur is kept to a bare minimum if used at all. Planted in 1973 and 1955, his vines are scattered around five lieux-dits and they have been farmed organically for many years; the yields are low giving top-grade grapes which in return produce characterful wines.
Most of the grapes come from the lieu-dit Pont Bourceau planted in 1973, with a touch of Le Jeau planted in 1955. It was fermented in fibreglass, 25% was aged in 228ltr barrels (bought from local hero Stéphane Bernaudeau), then bottled with 10mg/l sulphur in March, no fining or filtration. Fresh and quaffable there is a schist stamp which brings drive to the palate.
Producer Julien Delrieu
Origin Faveray-Mâchelles, Maine-et-Loire, France
Grapes Chenin blanc
Alcohol 12% ABV
Style Medium body white
Bottle size 750ml
Winemaking Manual harvest, gently pressed, fermented in fibre glass with indigenous yeast, part aged in oak barrels, undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Notes Natural, Organic, Biodynamic