Grapes: Cabernet Franc
Region: Saumur, Loire, France
Soils: Alluvial soil on clay-limestone base
Vinification: Destemmed, 15-20 day maceration
Aging: 6-8 months in vats
Fining or Filtering: None
Notes from the Importer: Sophie and Clément Maire-Kurdziel live and make their wines from a carefully chosen set of parcels in the areas surrounding Chinon and Saumur in the Loire Valley. They met and fell in love during their time at oenology school in Montpellier and spent their subsequent years travelling the world as stagieres in New Zealand, Lebanon, the US, and Australia, before finally settling in the Loire in 2017. They soon found some old Cabernet Franc vines for sale on the website Le Bon Coin (France’s version of Craigslist) and decided to take a look. It turns out the vineyard, named Les Justices, was a very special place. The low-yielding vines were planted in 1947 on almost pure clay soils, and immediately became the heart of their new project, as well as its namesake.
After releasing the first vintage of Les Justices in 2018, they rented more vines and now produce another Cabernet Franc from Saint-Cyr en Bourg, La Bamboche, a Chenin Blanc, Juste, grown on Silex in Turquant, a petillant rosé, Justices Sauvages, also from the plot in Turquant, and another Cabernet Franc, Petite Folle, which is sourced from a single parcel in the Saumur-Champigny appellation. They were able to add even more vines in 2021, including some from the famed Les Poyeaux lieu dit, made famous by the epynomous cuvée from Clos Rougeard. Today, they farm a total of 2 hectares of their own vines, and purchase grapes from another 3 hectares grown by local farmers (always organic). During harvest, vinification, and élevage, everything is done by hand and with as little intervention as possible: hand harvesting, indigenous yeasts, gentle macerations, and only rarely adding small amounts of SO2 at bottling.
After initially sharing space with their friends at Domaine Bobinet, they were able to purchase an old US Army barracks from the town of Saumur in 2021. The building was in a bit of a sad state, but they were able to fix it up and vinify their wines in their own space starting with the 2021s. Their long-term vision is to continue to fix up the cellar, add new vines when it makes sense, but to remain very small. They strongly believe this is the only way to maintain quality, and, most importantly, to properly respect the land and vines.
Tasting notes: Red berries, crunchy/tannic, peppercorn