One of the Loire's brightest new organic wine talents, Alexandre is farming Chenin Blanc and Gamay according to minimal intervention farming practices. Any soil work is done by horse & plough; he doesn't even know how to drive a tractor. This is real artisan wine.
"Working with the soil is something I adore. I am so passionate about soil health, and nothing compares to working the land by horse."
People: Alexandre Giquel
Place: Vouvray and Vernou-sur-Brenne, Loire, France
Varieties: Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Cabernet Franc
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? Alexandre has a particular love for Gamay. His Gamay vines were planted in 1967, and represent a massal selection (meaning when the vines were grafted they came from several different mother plants, as opposed to just one clone), which he stresses is vital for Gamay, as there are some hyper-productive clones that produce wines which are too acidic. Given that he works as naturally as possible, he doesn’t chaptalize (the practice of adding sugar to the fermenting wine to raise the alcohol), so the initial balance in the fruit needs to be spot on.
“I didn’t like working with chemicals in the vineyard, and I also didn’t like the technological way in the cellar. But at the same time, it’s important to learn those methods, in order to understand what you like, and what you don’t like.”
Deciding he needed to broaden his knowledge about organic viticulture, he did some research, deciding to pursue a farm animal management course. This time, he’d found something he was passionate about:
“Working with the soil is something I adore. I am so passionate about soil health, and nothing compares to working the land by horse. I don’t even know how to drive a tractor!”
He met fellow vigneron, Philippe Chigard of La Table Rouge, who is renowned for his knowledge about horses. He would become a mentor and close friend, and Alexandre’s horse grazes together with Philippe’s herd of Bretons, Comtois and Percherons.