Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Pascal Nathalie and Rémy Joulin: Domaine Michel Vattan
Pascal and Nathalie Joulin and their son – Rémy
(above and below)
After three weeks in Epeigné-les-Bois, we had a three-night stay in Chavignol (11th-14th April) before heading back to the UK.
On Sunday morning there was was time to spend just over an hour with Pascal Joulin (Domaine Michel Vattan) to taste the unbottled 2014s and a few previous vintages in bottle. Again the vibrant, clean and finely balanced 2014s impressed. From the bottled wines I enjoyed the texture and length of the 2013 Argile, Sancerre Blanc and the more concentrated and beginning to evolve 2012 Les L.O., which has an intriguing touch of bitterness in the long finish. Pascal releases L.O. only in good vintages – 2002, 2006, 2010, 2012 and most probably 2014.
I first met Pascal back in the early 1990s when he was at the La Cave des Hauts de Seyr in the Coteaux Charitois. La Cave was bought by Alphonse Mellot – I think in 2005 (confirmation would be good) and is now called Domaine des Pénitents. There is a previous Jim's Loire post on Pascal from the 2011 harvest here.
Following our tasting we had a quick look at some of his vineyards high up on the steep slopes above the little village of Maimbray. We discussed the problem of erosion on these steep slopes and the role grassing over the vineyards and careful cultivation plays in reducing water runoff. Pascal explained that he leaves the prunings amongst the vines which further helps to slow down rainwater. Sancerre can be prone to severe storms. Pascal showed me a video on his phone of a summer storm last year – a track transformed into a raging torrent.
Pascal's vines above Mainbray with Sury-en-Vaux in the hollow
(above and below)
Looking down towards Mainbray