Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Ampelidae – an update

Frédéric Brochet, founder and dynamic, driving force of Ampelidae 

I have covered Ampelidae in Haut-Poitou on several occasions on both Jim's Loire and Les 5 du Vin, so time for an update as the story has now moved on. Sadly it now includes Les 5 du Vin's midwife – Pierre-Jacques Druet.
My initial post was during the harvest of 2013 and focused on the decidedly fraught negociations with the rapidly sinking Cave de Haut-Poitou. At the end of March 2014 Ampelidae took over the bankrupt co-operative. Ampelidae has taken over one of the co-op's old premises in Neuville-de-Poitou (see below) and some equipment from the other facility in Neuville has been moved to Ampelidae's winery facility at Château des Roches.
Late September 2013: The shop + one of the winery facilities for the co-op
in Neuville-de-Poitou
6th October 2016: same premises under the Ampelidae colours 
Late September 2013 the closed main winery of the Cave du Haut Poitou
(above and below)
6th October 2016: demolition of winery to make way 
for new Lidl supermarket and other shops
img_6333Existing Lidl shop opposite new site 
In addition to absorbing the bankrupt Cave de Haut-Poitou and many of its members, this year Ampelidae has moved into Touraine taking over Pierre-Jacques Druet's bankrupt domaine in Benais (Appellation Bourgueil) as well as also taking over from bankruptcy the Touraine and Montlouis holdings of the Clos du Porteau based in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher (Aynard de Clermont-Tonnerre family). The Ampelidae will be making the 2016s at both of these properties. Ampelidae also makes the wine for Levin, which is owned by UK hotelier and restaurateur David Levin, close to Montrichard (Touraine).
The disappearance of the highly reputed Pierre-Jacques Druet as a vigneron is particularly poignant as it was his singular Bourgueil Rosé that gave the impetus to the creation of Les 5 du Vin in 2010 during a lunch in the press office at the Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers – a sad end for a very talented producer but poor businessman.
Some of the stock of Druet's Bourgueil
When Ampelidae took over Druet they inherited 80,000 bottles of Bourgueil of various vintages. Last Thursday I tasted several of Pierre-Jacques' Bourgueil and overall I was disappointed as they were not at the level that I have always associated with Pierre-Jacques' wines.
I was not really impressed by the entry level 2007 Cents Boisselées from a difficult vintage and also the 2000 Grand Mont – again not the easiest vintage – unlike Bordeaux – due to rain during the vintage. But most disappointing was the 2010 Vaumoreau, whose initial attractive fruit soon disappeared into a dry finish. The Vaumoreau has only just been bottled, so perhaps it has lost some of its fruit during the long delay before bottling – nearly six years after the vintage. Perhaps Druet just couldn't afford to bottle this wine. I can hope that the 2010 Vaumoreau is suffering from bottle shock following its recent bottling. Here's hoping!
It is Brochet's ambition to at least restore Druet's Bourgueils to their past glories and aim to go beyond this. This is perhaps Frédéric's most high profile challenge to date!
As well as tasting some of the Druet Bourgueils I also tasted a range of other wines in the Brochet stable. There are three main ranges – Marigny-Neuf, Brochet and Ampelidae. Marigny-Neuf is the entry level from 7€ retail from the domaine with the emphasis of varietal fruit. With Brochet the emphasis is on terroir, with prices ranging from 11€ for the Sauvignon Fie Gris to 29€ for the Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru made from fruit bought from Château de Suronde, which has recently changed hands. Ampelidae takes the top rank as 'Grands Vins' with prices ranging from 18€ for Le S (Sauvignon) and Le K (Cabernet up to 75€ for the the 2009 PN 1328 (Pinot Noir from a single plot) and 2005 Le K. 
The following wines stood out: the 2015 Marigny-Neuf made from a blend of Gamay, Cabernet and Pinot Noir – 50% direct press and 50% Saignée, 2014 Ampelidae Le S, 2014 Pinot Noir Marigny-Neuf, 2014 Ampelidae PN 1328 – although it needs more time in bottle. Over lunch we drank the 2012 Ampelidae PN 1328, which was impressive, as well as the aromatic and precise 2015 Lavauguyot, one of the 11 Crus of the Vienne – all Sauvignon. These are sold at auction – the 2016 version was held on 30th April. 
 Part of the winery at Château des Roches 

 Frédéric is keen to keep his finger on 
how the vintage is progressing.....

 Frédéric with three fermentation options: oak, 
a cement egg, small stainless steel vat 
– he prefers the stainless steel

Château des Roches, Marigny-Brizay
home of Kate and Benjamin Meuli
partners in and backers of Ampelidae 

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