The Wine: VDF Bovin Rouge 2020
Hervé Villemade VDF Bovin Rouge is a red wine made from 100% Gamay grapes farmed organically in the Loire Valley. Whole clusters macerate for 10 to 12 days. Fermentation and aging are done in concrete tanks with no manipulations. Two grams of S02 are added per hectoliter at bottling. Super fun straightforward, easy-drinking, glou glou, you get the idea; lots of juice in an old-school one-liter bottle.
The Producer: Hervé Villemade
Hervé Villemade has been working his family's vines in Cellettes since taking over from his father in 1995. Today, the estate represents about 22 hectares of organically farmed fruit within the Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny AOCs, along with a négociant license to supplement production with local grapes. When Hervé first took over, everything was farmed chemically and vinified conventionally. Unaware of an alternative, he followed in his parents' footsteps but quickly found his work "uninspired and bland." Around 1997, Hervé was introduced to the wines of Marcel Lapierre and Clos du Tue-Boeuf. Both immediately struck a chord with him.
Coincidentally, at the exact same time that he was discovering these wines, Hervé started developing a very serious allergy to sulfur. He decided to eliminate it from the cellar, but his first sans souffre vinifications quickly led to the conclusion that to make wine this way, you needed the hightest quality grapes. So in 2000, Hervé decided to convert the estate to organic viticulture.
The majority of the production consists of Cheverny Blanc and Cheverny Rouge, all farmed from the historic family parcels in Cellettes. A single vineyard Cheverny Rouge, "Les Ardilles", is produced in vintages that permit, along with "Desiré", a magnum only bottling of very old Pinot Noir planted by his grandfather. In addition, Hervé owns a significant amount of the indigenous Romorantin, a grape so unique to this part of the Loire that it receives its own appellation, Cour-Cheverny
The Region: Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is a vast region located in western France. It stretches from the hills of Auvergne all the way to the Atlantic coast, cut in half by the Loire River. With over 4 million hectoliters of wine per year, the Loire Valley is one of France’s biggest and most diverse wine-producing regions. The Lore Valley’s production ranges from everyday quaffable and unpretentious wine to some of the country’s finest whites and reds.
The Terroir of the Loire Valley
Upper Loire sub-region: continental climate, soils are mostly flint and limestone formations. This is the land of Sauvignon Blanc, with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé being the most famous appellations (AOC).
Touraine sub-region: continental climate, soils can be clay with flint or limestone, and chalk. Chenin Blanc is the main grape varietal for white wines, with Sauvignon Blanc coming in second. Red wines are made mostly from Cabernet Franc.
Anjou sub-region: maritime to continental climate, crumbly and soft soil formation called tuffeau. Anjou is well-known for its Chenin Blanc wines, mostly dry although there are good examples of sweet Chenin Blanc in Coteaux du Layon.
Saumur sub-region: continental to maritime climate, soils are made of tuffeau limestone in this similar to Anjou sub-region. Chenin Blanc is vinified as a sparkling wine with the champenoise method, Cabernet Franc is made into light and peppery wines.
Pays Nantais sub-region: maritime climate, the region stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Soils are rocky with granite formations. Muscadet is the main grape varietal of this area, known for wines that are mineral, crisp, and refreshing.
The White Wines of Loire Valley
White wines represent the biggest share with about 65% of the total production. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne, and Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne are the most popular grape varietals in the region.
The Red Wines of Loire Valley
Loire Valley reds are very distinct in terms of their style. Light and lean, lively and fruity, easy-drinking and food-friendly, they are some of the best everyday wines on the market. Some of the best examples of this style are made from Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.