Côteaux du Vendômois Rouge – Intuition
100% Pineau d’Aunis from vines planted in 1890 by Patrice’s great-great-grandfather. The vineyard is planted very densely and gives excellent ripeness. The grapes are fully destemmed and go through a long fermentation in 65% demi muids (600 liters) and 35% amphoras, then all is transferred into the demi muids for 9 months. For his amphoras, Patrice worked with a local potter to reduce porosity, thereby slowing micro-oxygenation. A wine of finesse and elegance, with notes of black fruits, a touch of licorice, and great length. Bottled unfiltered. Only 200 cases made. 13% alcohol.
About the Producer
Emilien Colin started selling wine in 1900, but the family history goes back to 1735. From 6 hectares of vines, the domaine, located in the commune of Thoré-la-Rochette, grew to the current 30 hectares: 11 ha of Pineau d’Aunis, 11 ha of Chenin Blanc, 2.5 ha of Pinot Noir, 2 ha of Cabernet Franc, 2 ha of Gamay and 1.5 ha of Chardonnay. Eighth generation Patrice Colin runs the estate. He came back home after having made wine in Greece, Germany and Anjou. He takes care of all operations from vineyard work to vinification and bottling; his wife Valérie oversees accounting, and their son-in-law Florian is in charge of sales and shipping. The family is helped by only one full time employee and some seasonal ones. The total production is 150,000 bottles, of which 50,000 are sparkling wine.
Coteaux du Vendômois is a really small AOP (350 hectares total, shared by 14 producers) that was officially formed in 2001 - but the history of wine production goes back as far as the 11th century. After phylloxera hit, the predominant grape varieties changed from; surin (cabernet sauvignon), auvernat noir (pinot noir), miller (pinot meunier), côt (malbec) and sémillon to: pineau d'aunis, pinot noir, gamay, cabernet franc and chenin blanc, chardonnay. The soils are silex (flint) which are ideal for the preferred varieties, chenin blanc and pineau d’aunis. There is a large cooperative producing 60% of the area’s total production, however half of it is Vin de France; so in fact Colin is the largest producer of AOP Coteaux du Vendômois wines.
Farming/vinification practices: certified organic since 1988! Patrice encourages biodiversity and is proud to count over 150 different plant species in his vineyard. He works with very old vines and uses massal selection. His vines grow smaller bunches and berries than the same varieties found elsewhere. Patrice tills the soil for oxygenation and practices green harvest. He considers his winemaking to be consistent with the philosophy of the "Vin Naturel". He uses indigenous yeasts and his wines go through long fermentations. Vinification is in stainless steel and oak barrels depending on the cuvee; the oak is seasoned at least 3 years before it becomes a barrel. He filters but does not fine. His wines are pure and alive, completely clean, and they scream Terroir! They are all eminently quaffable, with low alcohol levels.
For sulfites, the following is added:
Reds - none added at harvest, 2 grams/hectoliter in December after the malo, 1 gram/hectoliter in the spring, 1-2 grams/hectoliter at bottling: 4 to 5 grams/hectoliter total.
Whites : 1 gram at harvest, 2 grams at the end of fermentation, 1.5 - 2 grams at bottling: 4.5 to 5 grams/hectoliter total.
The wines are vegan.