Terroir and Vinification

English Propriété emblématique de l'Anjou, le Château de Fesles ainsi que son domaine viticole furent construit au XIe siècle au sommet du 4ème point culminant du Val de Loire. Sa position géographique exceptionnelle ainsi que sa proximité avec la rivière du layon lui permettent de produire des vins au caractère racé et complexe.

The Château de Fesles estate consists of 48 hectares of vines planted around the property and divided into two parts:

On the hillside:

  • Chenin Blanc (24 hectares) for producing Anjou Blanc, Coteaux du Layon and Bonnezeaux.

On the plateau:

  • Cabernet Franc ((18 hectares) the only grape variety used to make Anjou Rouge, Anjou-Villages Rouge and Cabernet d’Anjou.
  • Grolleau (2 hectares), used to make Rosé d’Anjou.

The “La Chapelle” parcel, with its perfect south-westerly exposure, produces the best quality grapes on the estate. The soil in this parcel is made from blue shale and quartz, which promote natural drainage and make it less sensitive to frost. The Château overlooks the River Layon. Its proximity to the Layon gives rise to early morning fog, helping Botrytis or “noble rot” to thrive and producing very concentrated grapes. This is vitally important for the production of Bonnezeaux.

Pierre-Jean Sauvion, oenologist at the Château de Fesles and Gilles Bigot, the cellar manager, take exceptional care in their work, creating cuvées that have given the estate its reputation. The keyword is QUALITY.

Anjou Rouge vinification

Manual harvesting, rigorous table sorting. 100% destemming, stainless steel vatting at 30-33°C with frequent pumping over, 8 to 15-day maceration. Aged on fine lees in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for 4 months to maintain Cabernet Franc expression in the fruit, then stored in bottles for 6 months before sale.

Rosé vinification :

Rosé d'Anjou : 100% of the crop is destemmed, then macerated for several hours in the press. Vinification at 18°C in stainless steel vats.
Cabernet d'Anjou : Fermented at low temperature after direct pressing or after a short maceration. Fermentation is stopped when residual sugar reaches 20g/litre.

Anjou Blanc vinification

After manual harvesting with two sorts, part of the harvest is vinified in vats for the crispness of the fruit, and the other part in casks to add aromatic complexity. At Château de Fesles we use casks made from two types of wood - oak and acacia - to give a more complex yet subtle woodiness.

Bonnezeaux vinification

This wonderfully syrupy wine is the result of a highly specific grape harvest. Its secret lies in the alchemy between terroir, climat, overripening of the grapes and extremely rigorous sorting. From October to November the pickers manually select the best bunches of grapes from each vine covered with Botrytis (noble rot). The grapes are generally harvested at 18 to 24°C.

Use in the development of Bonnezeaux, the technique of the passillage. It is a method that allows to obtain an over-maturation of the grape by natural drying. The grapes are exposed on a bed of straw for the sun to evaporate the water inside the bays. The loss of water favors the concentration of sugars and the alcoholic degree is rising.

After a long, slow fermentation, the must - which is naturally concentrated in sugar because of the overripeness of the selected grapes - is transformed into a gold-coloured wine. It is then stored in oak and acacia barrels at a controlled temperature of 9°C maximum, ready to be bottled in spring. With a lovely freshness on the palate, it has an extremely delicate aroma and a flavour that blooms in the mouth like a bouquet of flowers. In French, it is described as having a “peacock's tail”, meaning it has a remarkable fullness and persistence of flavour.

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