Chateau Soucherie

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The Chateau Soucherie may be the most physically beautiful property of all the domaines with which we work. The house itself is a unique architectural gem that sits on a rise overlooking the vineyards that snake down towards the Layon river. My first visit at the estate was in early 1982, a frigid, damp day that I will remember forever. I was exploring the truly verdant slopes and valleys of the Layon region, intensely “green” no matter the season, in search of that special regional version of Chenin Blanc that, at its best, can be one of the most compelling of wines. My research led me to Soucherie and I was greeted by the ebullient presence of the proprietaire, Pierre-Yves Tijou. On that cold day, with the winter chill surging through the earth and cement floor of the chai installing itself deep in my bones, the warmth and graciousness and simple good cheer of Monsieur Tijou leavened the frost and coddled the body. Thirty years later we remain friends.

That day I was introduced to the complex and savory nature of these wines born of the Layon and its marriage to the noble Chenin Blanc. For every year since, we have been engaged with this magnificent domaine and its dry and sweet versions of wines of the Coteaux du Layon and of Savennieres. As well, there are the simple and satisfying reds and rosés that render the fruits of the local Cabernet Franc and Grolleau … overall a quite complete vinous experience.

As life would have it on occasion, not everything goes according to plan. During the early part of the decade of 2000, Pierre-Yves took ill and the stress of his recovery pushed him to sell this magnificent domaine to give his son and successor, Mathieu, the freedom to “downsize” and control his destiny. The Tijous thus acquired a neighboring estate, the Chateau L’Eperonniere, that belonged to Mathieu’s uncle and sold Soucherie to Roger Beguinot. The transition for all may have been psychologically difficult but the end result for us was the ability to continue to work with Chateau Soucherie and add the wines of Chateau L’Eperonniere to our portfolio, an utterly satisfying result made even more pleasing by the eventual recovery that Pierre-Yves made to return to good health. So, a difficult story turns out to have a lovely ending.

Under Roger Beguinot’s direction, the buildings and the vineyards have been renovated and this 36 hectare property is more exquisite than ever before. Four of the thirty-six hectares are situated in the prime vineyard of Chaume and then two hectares are in Savennieres in a single-vineyard known as “Clos des Perrieres”. The remaining vineyards which encircle the chateau are in the Anjou and Coteaux du Layon appellations. Soucherie is surrounded by the villages of Rochefort-sur-Loire, Beaulieu-sur-Layon and Saint Lambert du Lattay. The soils are principally limestone, clay and schist.

Beguinot’s assistant, the maitre de chai, is the young Thibaud Boudignon who is leading the charge towards 100% organic viticulture through the principles of “agriculture integrée”. The domaine is divided into a series of single-vineyard sites, several of which are isolated to produce “lieu-dit” denominated wines.

Soucherie-Anjou-Rouge-Reliefs Anjou Rouge: This lively, fruity red retains a strong minerality to its finish that lends class and balance to this simple and reasonably priced wine. Cabernet Franc forms the backbone of this wine (90%) but is blended with a touch of Grolleau (10%). The vines are planted to gravel and schist soils. The elevage is in cuve on the fine lies for approximately eight months. We purchase on the order of 5000 bottles of this wine annually.
soucherie-anjou-blanc-rangs-de-long Anjou Blanc Cuvée Les Rangs de Longue: This cuvée is essentially vinified exclusively for our use in the US market. The grapes, 100% Chenin Blanc, are sourced from the vineyard site “Les Rangs de Longue” which is on the northern part of the estate but with south-southeastern exposure. The soil is a mix of clay and sand and limestone with some schist. The wine is vinified totally dry in cuve and aged on the fine lies for eight to nine months before being bottled. Approximately 12,000 bottles per annum are produced for the US market.
soucherie-savennieres-clos-des-perrieres Savennieres Clos des Perrieres: This 1.8 hectare vineyard in the heart of the Savennieres district on the northern side of the Loire is planted exclusively to Chenin Blanc and produces a classic version of this entrancing appellation. The soil is a mix of sand, volcanic rocks, schist and granite. Fermentation and the first nine-months of elevage occurs in barrel but the wine then spends about four additional months assembled in cuve resting on the fine lies before being bottled. Approximately 1500 bottles per annum come to the USA.
soucherie-coteaux-du-layon-patrimoine Coteaux du Layon “Patrimone”: This wine is produced from several different lieu-dits on the estate which share soils of clay and schist. Fermentation and elevage occur in cuve with extensive contact with the fine lies. The degree of residual sugar that remains in the wine varies depending on the vintage but, it is important to note, the vibrant acidity and intense minerality of this wine leaves a lingering, dry finish.
Soucherie-Coteaux-du-Layon-VV Coteaux du Layon Vieilles Vignes: This cuvée is produced from some of the oldest vines on the estate, the majority of which are more than seventy (70) years of age. The vines are planted to a clay-schist soil. The wine is fermented in barrel and also aged therein for about nine months before bottling.
soucherie-coteaux-du-layon-chaume Coteaux du Layon Chaume: The exceptional Chaume vineyard produces the grandest wine of Soucherie. The vineyards border the Layon river and are often swathed in an early morning fog. The soil is clay and schist. The special micro-climate that exists in Chaume creates a tendency for botrytis to develop and the grapes from this vineyard in Chaume are almost always blessed with 100% botrytis. Harvest is done by multiple passes through the vineyard that can frequently cover several weeks of work. The wine is fermented in barrel (about one-third of which is new) and then spends 18 months in barrel for the elevage. We purchase approximately 1200 bottles per year for the US market.
soucherie-rose-de-loire-lastree Rosé de Loire: This dry, mineral-driven Rosé is produced from Grolleau (70%) and Gamay (30%). The vines are planted to clay, sandstone and schist soils. The wine is a product of the direct press method of vinification and the elevage is in cuve with bottling occurring usually in April of the spring following harvest. We purchase approximately 7800 bottles for the US market.
Soucherie-Champ-aux-Loups Anjou Rouge Village Champs Aux Loups: This is a single-vineyard cuvée from an old vines parcel that fronts the Château. The soil is a mix of limestone, sand and clay. Cabernet Franc is the sole vine planted in this lieu-dit. The grapes are destemmed, then they are fermented in cuve. The wine is then racked into barrel to age for 24 months before being bottled without filtration.
Soucherie-Cremant-de-Loire-Rose N.V. Crémant de Loire Rosé: A dry sparkling wine that is mostly Cabernet Franc (90%) with some Chenin Blanc (10%), planted to clay and schist soils. The wine spends a year to 18 months on the lies before disgorgement. Fine bubbles match perfectly with the elegant fruit and crisp, mineral profile of the wine. A mere 3000 bottles are produced each year and we are fortunate to import 1200 from this very limited quantity.
Download Soucherie tech sheet
Domaine NameCHATEAU SOUCHERIE
Family/Owners NameBEGUINOT
How many years has the family owned the domaine?2007
How many generations?First generation
How many hectares of vines are owned?28 ha
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? When?Lutte raisonnee but with the willingness for the next years to be certified Organic
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).Field work and harvest by hand
PLEASE ALSO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR REPLY:Green harvest and leaf-thinning
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.No
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac/allo sfuso?No
WINE 1
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationCoteaux du Layon. Patrimoine 2015
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Chenin
%ABV12% by vol
# of bottles produced12000
Grams of Residual Sugar80
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsSoucherie
Exposures and slope of vineyardstable-land
Soil Types(s)Clay, schist and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)35 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)October 1st
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Uniform flowering. Hot and dry in July. August was not sunny. Lots of rainfall in early September. We lived a kind of ideal Indian summer for the maturation of the grape
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeIn tank
Duration of cuvaison3 weeks
Duration of contact with lees6 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous yeasts
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Soft pressing
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:After a 24h settling, juices start the alcoholic fermentation and they are not racked until the bottling
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationNo malolactic fermentation. SO2 is added for the pumping-over. Ageing on lees for 9 months without racking
Duration of elevage9 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeTangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Once for stop the fermentation and just before bottling. Free SO2: 35mg/l
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?2014 and 2015 are good vintages for Coteaux du Layon. Delicate palate with fresh fruit aromas like pear. Not too heavy with sugar. Fresh finish in the mouth
WINE 2
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationAnjou Blanc
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Chenin Blanc
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsLes rangs de long
Soil Types(s)Clay, Schist and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)35 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)October 1st
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Uniform flowering. Hot and dry in July. August was not sunny. Lots of rainfall in early September. We lived a kind of ideal Indian summer for the maturation of the grape
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeIn tank
Duration of cuvaison3 weeks
Duration of contact with lees6 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous yeasts
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine.Soft pressing
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter a 24h settling, juices start the alcoholic fermentation and they are not racked until the bottling. No malolactic fermentation
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Tank 46 hl
Duration of elevage6 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeKieselghur filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Sulphiting at the end of the fermentation and before bottling. Free SO2: 25 mg/l. Total SO2: 80 mg/l
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Aromatic, fresh, with wines a little bit more ‘soft’ but with a good acidity
WINE 3
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationRosé de Loire
Cepage/Uvaggio20% Cabernet Franc, 40% Gamay, 40% Grolleau
# of bottles produced9 000
Grams of Residual Sugar
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsL’Astrée
Soil Types(s)Clay, schist
Average vine age (per vineyard)35 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)09/17 Gamay, 09/24 Grolleau, 10/07 Cabernet Franc
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGEUniform flowering
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Hot and dry in July. August was not sunny. Lots of rainfall in early September. We lived a kind of ideal Indian summer for the maturation of the grape
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeTank
Duration of cuvaison21 days
Duration of contact with lees6 months
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Direct pressing
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationSoft pressing. After a 24h settling, juices start the alcoholic fermentation and they are not racked until the bottling. No malolactic fermentation
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Tank
Duration of elevage5 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketFew weeks
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeKieselghur filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Sulphiting at the end of the fermentation and just before bottling. Free SO2: 25 mg/l
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Aromatic, fresh and refreshing rosé
WINE 4
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationCoteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume
Cepage/Uvaggio100% chenin
%ABV14% by vol
# of bottles produced5000
Grams of Residual Sugar130
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Soil Types(s)Schist with phthanite
Average vine age (per vineyard)70 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeBarrels 500l and 600l. Foudre 12hl
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationSoft pressing. After a 24h settling, juices start the alcoholic fermentation and they are not racked until the bottling. No malolactic fermentation. SO2 is added for the pumping-over. Ageing on lees for 9 months without racking
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Barrels 500 L and 600 L. Foudre 12 hl
Duration of elevage12 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market12-18 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeTangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Once for stop the fermentation and just before bottling. Free SO2: 35mg/l
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Vintage more convenient to the botrytis than on 2013. More volume and richness in mouth with always of beautiful acidities in finish
WINE 5
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSavennières “Clos des Perrières”
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Chenin Blanc
%ABV13% by vol
# of bottles produced8000
Grams of Residual Sugar
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsLes Perrières
Soil Types(s)Schist, sand, volcanic roch
Average vine age (per vineyard)25 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)October 1st , 2013
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGESummer 2013 was very rainy and cold, so the flowering start the June 25.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?The climatic conditions during the harvest were difficult: alternating between sunny day and rainy day.
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster
Fermentation: vessel type and sizebarrels 500L whose 20% new barrel
Duration of cuvaison3 weeks
Duration of contact with lees18 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous yeasts
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Soft pressing
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter a 24h settling, juices start the alcoholic fermentation and they are not racked until the bottling. No malolactic fermentation. The fermentation start in tank then in barrels for 9 months then 9 months in tank
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Barrels 500 L, Stainless steel tank
Duration of elevage18 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeKieselghur filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?We add SO2 at the end of the fermentation and before the bottling. Free sulfur: 25 mg/l
WINE 6
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationAnjou rouge 2015 “Reliefs”
Cepage/Uvaggio85% Cabernet Franc, 15% Grolleau
Grams of Residual Sugar
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsLa Soucherie
Soil Types(s)Schistes
Average vine age (per vineyard)30 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)4000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)43023
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmed100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeTank 60 hl
Duration of cuvaison28 days for Cabernet. 15 days for Grolleau
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. After the malolactic fermentation, racking and sulphiting for the ageing on lees for 12 months
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)50% tank, 50% foudre 50hl
Duration of elevage12 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeKieselghur filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes after malolactic fermentation and before bottling. Free SO2: 20 mg/l. Total SO2: 60 mg/l

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