Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Hervé and Patricia Menard: 2010 Bourgueil
2010 La Vigne aux Alouettes, Bourgueil
The first Saturday in April we stopped off mid-afternoon at Patricia and Hervé's Domaine Ménard, where they were having their Portes Ouvertes. The programme had promised a horse drawn ploughing demonstration but with the very real threat of frost due to the very early bud-break this had been cancelled.
I had first tasted Domaine Ménard's wines at the Fête des Vins de Bourgueil at Tours in March and had been impressed, so was keen to go back and try them again. There were nine wines to try – of those still on sale I particularly liked the ripe and textured 2010 La Vigne aux Alouettes but with good balancing acidity. Not flashly but an honest, good drink and not email@example.com€ a bottle. Sadly it is probably all now sold out as Hervé said they were down to their last few cases. The 2013 Alouettes was also attractive with nicely soft tannins for the vintage. The 2012 also had good texture, though with some bitterness in the finish, while the 2011 was more angular and less impressive. The 2011 Grand Clos had good concentration but quite grainy tannins in the finish.
Hervé Menard explained that they had started to convert to organic viticulture in 2006 and had been associated with Christophe Chasle before Chasle sold off his vineyards including seven hectares in Saint-Patrice to Xavier Courant. Finding himself with 2.5 hectares Hervé soon concluded that the only economic way to cultivate his vineyards was to use a horse as a tractor with the necessary equipment just wasn't viable. "I'm the only person in Bourgueil who works with a horse in my vines." he claims.
The Ménard's wines ought to be stocked at the Café de la Promenade as Ludo Ragot is a fan but apparently Hervé hasn't got round to delivering them yet... Hopefully he will have done in the next time I go to the Promenade!