La Lunotte (Christophe Foucher)
A crescent moon hangs gentle and open, embracing the earthly tableau below. A small stone hut, cozily sealed off and hugged on either side by an upturned barrel and some knotty vines in the distance. This is the label of La Lunotte: a compact image of pastoral calm, perfectly encapsulating the incubatory atmosphere on the winemaking property of Christophe Foucher. Much like Christophe’s quiet contemplative facade, inside the sturdy stone structure a hushed and patient transformation unfolds. Barrels of older wine breathe long and quiet breaths, and fermenters gently babble like newborns. Life seems to emanate from the dank, fecund ground below.
Christophe’s domaine is composed of 5 hectares along the southern bank of the Cher River. Sauvignon and Menu Pineau are a large focus, but Christophe also tends to a smattering of Cabernet Franc and Gamay. The soils are a nourishing river-wash of flint, silex, clay and sand which shows in broad and textural strokes of ripe fruit, dense minerality and trebly acidity; a polytonal tribute to the Loire. Working alone and entirely by hand, Christophe dutifully stewards his small piece of land with humility and righteous sense of purpose.
Very few wines are such direct conduits to the place, persona and process behind them. Christophe’s DNA is intrinsically linked, and I can confidently say that there is nothing else quite like them. Their clear glass bottling isn’t an overt attempt at distinguishing them as natural and celebrating debased or eye-catching appearance, but rather a proud display of their crystalline purity. Natural wines’ transgressive aesthetics often grab headlines but these days what is truly radical is a humble dedication to a personal craft unadulterated by fashion – wines rigidly driven by personality, artisanship translating human essence. Additives and bogus farming get in the way of that, but increasingly the en vogue threatens authenticity in wine as well. Since 2002, Christophe’s cellar work has continued largely unchanged: grapes are harvested as ripe as possible, generally in late October. Whites are pressed immediately and reds are left to macerate, whole-cluster, for a period of several weeks. All wines are laid down too long elevage in barrel for a period last as little as a year and as long as five. No additives are used at any time in Christophe’s winemaking.
- Quinn Kimsey-White via Percy Selections
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