Prior to 2002 and my arrival at le Clos de la Meslerie, wine had last been made on site in the early 1990’s by the previous owner, Mr. René Sauger, who sold his production essentially to a limited, mostly ‘friends and family’ client list. When Mr. Sauger died his wife rented out the vineyard to a local winemaker giving him the rights to grow the grapes and take them back to his winemaking facility after harvest, making and selling the wine under his name, often mixing it with his own production. Over time the vineyard and facilities fell into a state of disrepair. Unfortunately the vineyard was cultivated by the renter for maximum production: herbicides, pesticides, high-yields, machine harvesting etc. in short, everything that I am against.
The recent history of the estate is one of loving renovation and rejuvenation which I launched with the help of a number of passionate people. While working on renovating the property I went back to school part time in the nearby medieval town of Amboise. I received my Brevet Professionnel Agricole in Viticulture and Enology in 2005 and took over the full workings of the vineyard in 2007, immediately embarking on a re-conversion back to organic agriculture.
The estate has only four hectares (ten acres) of chenin blanc vines in the Vouvray appellation. The task I set myself was to create an organic micro-winery, focusing on producing a small amount of very high quality wine. We produced the first vintage of the “new” Clos de la Meslerie in 2008.
I say “we” because the people I have around me, helping me, sharing the passion and slight madness of the project are as essential as the terroir itself in producing the wine.
For a quick look at a little madness, see the video.