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Mathieu Coste, Loire, France

Mathieu Coste
Coteaux-du-Giennois, Loire Valley

  • Varietals: pinot noir, gamay, sauvignon
  • Soils: argilo calcaire with some silicate stones
  • Vineyard size: 5.5 ha with 4.7 for red wine (1/3 pinot noir 2/3 gamay) and 0.8ha for white wine
  • Parcel exposition: all in south
  • Vine age: all between 60/40 years
  • Soil: similar to Sancerre’s : clay/limestone with silica from the tertiary/kimmeridgian era.
  • Vine training: organic methods since 1982. Cross-croping the soil to give food to the plants, only the use of natural chemicals made from plant components for protecting the vineyard. Biodynamic practices include vinicultural and viticultural practices with a specific focus on the lunar calendar. Mathieu’s philosophy is to nurish the soil and from there have the soil give food to the plants: not directly food to plants like intensive agriculture.
  • Biodiversity: in the vineyard you can find bees, beetles, spiders, praying mantis and others…Sometimes rabbits run along the engine when I turn the soil. There is life in his vineyard like in his wine as Mathieu trys to respect nature as much as possible.
  • Density of plants : 7500 per hectare

Harvested by hand, the fruit arrives into cement tank with perfect integrity. As professor and Winery director at The Beaune Viticulture School, Mathieu make wines like in burgundy. Destemming – partial or 100%: it depends on year fruit year characteristics , he can destem until 50% because he makes wines that are able to stay fine and fresh during 10 years. Fermentation is in cement tank and after wines are keeping  in rotation between old oak barrels and steel tanks for 2 to 5 years. Winesare bottled without fining or filtration. “I let wines become themselves, it’s a natural expression of complex phenomena.” Parcels are vinified separately and then blended: blending in cement tank during fermentation.

The Coteaux-du-Giennois, one of these lesser-known Loire Appellation, name means “slopes of the Gien region.” Sancerre is a few kilometers south (and upstream). Wine has been made in the region (Villemoison, Cosne-sur-Loire) since at least 849 A.D. as there are traces of a donation including vineyards and farms by King Charles the Bald to the bishop of Auxerre. Numerous abbeys spread viticulture and winemaking in the area too, like the Cistercian Abbey of Roche in Myennes and the Commanderie des Templiers in Villemoison, the hamlet where the winery is located. The varieties in the Appellation today are Gamay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon, and the production is split roughly between reds and whites, with also some rosé. The soil of the area is of the same nature than Sancerre’s, but the actually-planted surface is much smaller, about 190 hectares of vineyards (compared with 2800 hectares in Sancerre) stretched among 14 villages. Another difference is that the Coteaux-du-Giennois wines are mostly sold inside France, with an export share of only 17 % (compared with 53 % for Sancerre).