Henry Marionnet is one of the leading estates of the Touraine. Jean-Sebastien and his father could choose to make only entry-level Sauvignon de Touraine and Gamay de Touraine, but because they are passionate about wine, they make three additional cuveÅLes of Gamay, just to see if you really can taste terroir. They have Gamay planted franc-pied, Gamay de Bouze, Gamay without any sulfur at bottling in addition to their baby cuveÅLe Charmoise Gamay de Touraine. The estate’s treasure is a tiny plot of pre-phylloxera Romorantin that was planted in 1850.
Jean-Sebastien Marionnet explains that to make the best wines, you need to have the healthiest and maturest grapes possible. He uses copper and sulfur in the vineyards, but in smaller doses than “organic” viticulture recommends because copper is a metal that can poison the terroir if it’s too concentrated.
Marionnet does not “work the soil” to get rid of grass in the vineyards, instead opting to keep the grass. He explained that it rains quite often and if the grass is not there to absorb the water, then the grapes plump up more, making a more diluted wine. There is also a greater risk for botrytis. In an area where machine-harvesting rules, all of the Marionnet vines are harvested by hand and sorted in the vineyard. It takes a full month to harvest the 63 hectares and 60 people!
The grapes then go straight into stainless-steel tanks and the wines are made completely naturally, without the addition of sulfur or commercial yeasts (fermentation starts just fine with the natural yeasts on the grapes), and without any other oenological products like enzymes or liquid tannin. After the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation have happened a small amount of sulfur is added to protect the wine, except on the Premie`re Vendange. Jean-Sebastien explains that he, “makes wine by tasting it and not paying attention to the latest trends. I love clean wine – straight, pure, and filled with fruit. This is what terroir is.”
A natural wine made and bottled á l’ancienne, as it was for the “first harvest”. 100% Gamay. No sulfur added.