Domaine Paget

An estate at Rivarennes, in the appellation of Touraine Azay-Le-Rideau, where fifth generation Nicolas Paget took over from his father James in 2008 having worked with him for 6 years before that. Following time at the local Conservatoire (whence numerous musical references), Nicolas studied viticulture at Amboise and has grown the estate to 18 hectares, mostly in Azay but also just under five hectares of cabernet franc in Chinon. He has moved steadily towards sustainable viticulture.

Vineyard management is a high priority, as evidenced by grassed rows and vines trained high to maximise photosynthesis and achieve ripeness without over-ripeness. All the grapes for white and rosé are hand harvested, for greater purity and integrity.

Côt (the local name for the malbec grape) is an important element in the red blend Jajavanaise, and grolleau is his preferred variety for rosé, which he aims to be his ‘cheval de bataille’ (there is also an off-dry rosé Gourmandise and a new red from this hitherto unfashionable Loire grape). Much mechanization has been removed since 2011 in favour of gentler handling in the cellar which, whilst not gravity-fed, now uses a conveyor belt to move the bunches rather than a pump. The Touraine vineyard comprises around 4ha chenin blanc, 3ha grolleau, 2ha cabernet franc, 1ha côt, and 40 ares of gamay.

The Azay-Le-Rideau appellation is for white and rosé only, and the rosé is the only AC to require a minimum of grolleau (60%), and Nicolas is campaigning for AC red with the aim of restoring its local popularity and, with the help of the 2014 vintage (harvested phenolically ripe in October), popularity further afield. Nicolas cares greatly about vine age, not, he says because old necessarily means good (recalling the planting of high yielding clones in the 70s and 80s which he now uses only for sparkling wines). He favours 'séléction massale' from older clones.

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