Antique Chenin Blanc Vines in the Loire Valley at Plou & Fils Winery
80 year old chenin blanc vine
(Monday, May 19, 2014)Our next stop was a small family winery called Plou & Fils that was located in the Amboise AOC. Started in 1508, the vineyard and winery had been passed down the generations to the current general manager and enologist, Matua. He was tall, energetic, in his early 30’s, and with a great sense of humor.
He beckoned for all 31 of us to follow him up a small dirt trail to the top of a hill where their vineyards were situated. As we were walking towards an amazing vineyard of ancient gnarled vines, he told us to be careful of snakes in the grass. Everyone with sandals on jumped and several people screamed.
Arriving at the vineyard we were all mesmerized at our first sight of an 80 year old Chenin Blanc vines. They were on small goblet trellis system with spur-pruning, but the trunks were huge and twisted. Matua said they were not producing that much anymore and that he would probably pull them out in 2 or 3 years. We asked him not to, and Dan suggested that he craft a special vineyard designate wine from the plot.
Cellars of Plou & Fils
Next we visited a younger malbec vineyard and saw the small “sexual confusion” orange plastic traps that are used to prevent moths from breeding and destroying the vineyard. Everyone was surprised at the name of the trap. Matua pointed out other vineyard plots in the distance, including chardonnay, cabernet franc, grolleau, gamay and sauvignon blanc. All together he has 88 hectares of vines.
Next Matua led us through the most comprehensive tasting of our trip, in which we tasted over 15 different wines. He started with the reds, and I found several cab franc/malbec blends that I enjoyed and purchased. Then we moved onto other varieties. One of the highlights of the tasting was a rose called Milady made from the grolleau grape. His chardonnay was also exquisite, along with all of the sparkling Chenin blancs. Again the prices were very reasonable, so everyone purchases several bottles at prices of only $5 to 8 euros per bottle.
Wine Tasting at Plou Vineyards in the Loire
As we were departing we asked Matua about his marketing and sales strategy. Amazingly, though he produces 360,000 bottles (30,000 cases), he sells 50% direct to consumer from his tasting room, and the other 50% direct to trade via trade shows and wine competitions. He’s obviously doing very well!