- Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, Loire, France
Domaine Amirault was founded in 1977 by Yannick with only 3.9 hectares of vines he inherited from his grandfather, Eugène Amirault. Since that time, he and his son Benoît, who joined the family business in 2003, have expanded their holding to 20 hectares of vineyards in Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil. An early skeptic of industrial farming practices, Yannick had gradually weaned his vineyards off synthetic inputs, completing this process in 1997. Work in the vineyard and cellar follows the lunar calendar, and the estate received organic certification in 2009. While these practices may seem fashionable, they are simply returning to the way Eugène Amirault made wine for his family.
Now, under Benoît, the existing minimalistic cellar practices have become even more transparent. Harvest has always been done by hand and is initiated by many factors, all guided by Yannick and Benoît’s combined experience. Each parcel is picked at its own optimal ripeness, and in several passes, then the grape clusters are transported to the cellar where they are sorted again and destemmed. Fermentations are indigenous and conducted in large, open-topped, conical oak vats. Macerations are long, lasting up to sixty days with pigeage only at the very beginning of the fermentation and rémontage reserved only for the ripest vintages and cuvées to prevent more rustic tannins in the wines. Only the first press is used and the wines are aged in neutral vessels: amphorae, French oak demi-muids, and well-seasoned oak vats. New wood is added only to replenish their stock of barrels.
This profile, including all tasting notes and photos, was edited from the European Cellars website. For more information please visit: European Cellars.