Grapes: Pinot Noir + Pinot Meunier
Region: Loire Valley, France
Life couldn’t have changed more for Reynald Héaulé. After having trained as an accountant, he quickly decided instead to follow the call of winemaking, and he is now a fascinating producer in the Loire region. Héaulé started out in Burgundy before setting up a small scale vineyard by the river Loire back in 2000. He can now boast of three hectares, which he plants himself, and 20 varieties of vine.
Héaulé was tutored by Claude Courtois, and, like his mentor, is known for his unusual selection of grapes, including Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Gascon and Pinot Gris. These are grown in high density, at around 12,500 vines per hectare, across a range of soil types – including that of a mineral-rich former river bed. The clay-rich soil of the right bank of the Loire, for example, which was highly sought-after in the 15th and 16th centuries, produces richly flavoured Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pineau Meunier and other varieties. On the southern side of the river, the silica-rich soil produces sharper tasting varieties, including Gascon, Menu Pineau, Chardonnay and Cabernet.
Long aging periods further add to the distinctive tastes that flow from Héaulé’s parcels, making him an exciting producer to discover.
Average age of vines: 10 years old
Vinification: Grapes are hand-harvested. Maceration for 15 days before being pressed. Wine is aged for 30 months in old oak barrels.