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Alexandre Giquel

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

Hectares:  3.15 

Farming:  Organic with elements of biodynamics

Wines: Click here

Did You Know? When learning about working with animals, Alexandre 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.

“When you work with such beautiful grapes that you’ve been farming for all year, you want to make sure you have the healthiest fermentation possible. I prefer to make sure the fermentation is happy and clean from the beginning, rather than having to correct any deviances. I think it’s a shame to have problems appear in the bottle, just because you don’t want to add sulphites. It’s a personal choice, of course, and there’s no singular method. I understand that others might feel differently, but this is my vision. I don’t like to take too many risks.”

He assesses the level of risk for each wine on an individual basis. For example, for his Cabernet Franc 2018, which aged for 24 months, he felt confident that the wine was stable to bottle unfined, unfiltered and without further addition of sulphites. It is produced from destemmed fruit (Cabernet fruit has a tendency to ripen before the stems are ripe) with a short maceration period of around ten days. For his beloved Gamay, however, he likes to use whole bunches, and he extends the maceration period to somewhere between two and three weeks. 

“I like to use the semi-carbonic method for Gamay. I like having stems in the fermentation. Although they might give slightly green tannins at the start, they’re lovely tannins for the ageing process in the barrels. It gives a Gamay that has some tension; a Gamay that can age. I think this is the way to...

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