Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Visit last Friday to Fiona Beeston at the Clos des Capucins, Chinon
Fiona Beeston in the grounds of the Clos des Capucins
with the Château de Chinon and River Vienne in background
One of the four small plots that make up the Clos des Capucins
Château de Chinon in background (above and below)
View down to Vienne from the Clos
Last Friday was the second time I had been to the Clos des Capucins. I went there first in March 2009 with Christophe Baudry soon after it had been bought by Baudry-Dutour. At that time they had plans to develop the house into a visitors' centre and to hold summer concerts in the grounds. Following their acquisition of Château la Grille, the Clos des Capucins was sold to Fiona in September 2010. She made her first vintage in 2011.
Fiona has had an interesting and varied career. Her first experience in wine was in 1976 in the Entre Deux Mers as a cellar rat. Back then it was virtually unknown for a woman to work in a winery – it was feared that a woman's period could send the wine off!! Fiona has been wine writer with Revue du Vins de France and wrote The Wine Men, a series of portraits of men in the French wine trade, in 1991. She worked for Steven Spurrier in Paris, then at Legrand's shop in Paris including setting up their wine shop. After her children had grown up Fiona decided that she wanted to be a vigneronne so she did several stages including one at Domaine Huet.
Fiona spent some time in Chinon searching for the right vineyard and was about to give up when she was shown Le Clos des Capucins, which suited her perfectly.
The main house which is rented out as a gité
Fiona and CRM
At the Clos there are four small plots of vines totalling 1.39 hectares that Fiona is now farming organically converting them from their previous chemical regime. She has made her first two vintages at Pascal Lambert's winery in Cravant-les-Coteaux and is now awaiting planning permission to build her own small winery to be hidden away in the grounds of the Clos.
2013 a little way off flowering
The 'parc des barriques' (above and below)
Stabling for when the horse comes to stay and work
Another of the plots in the Clos
The house and part of Le Clos
View to the Château de Chinon (above and below)
... and down to the town
The 'perfectly drinkable' parcel (above and below)
Fiona has a further three hectares 3K to the north of Chinon, which she bought from Pascal Lambert. Here she makes 'Fiona's Perfectly Drinkable' – an easy drinking Chinon.