Clau de Nell
“Significant financial difficulties and a call for aid from the previous proprietors brought the property to Anne-Claude Leflaive’s attention. In 2006, Anne-Claude and her husband, Christian Jacques, had created a company to help new biodynamic wine growers take advantage of their established commercial network. In order to assist the struggling venture, in 2008 they purchased the domaine, which had not produced any wine for three years due to lack of means. It was a moment of serendipity for the abandoned vineyards and the Leflaive-Jacques family, culminating with the arrival of Sylvain Potin in 2009, well-versed in biodynamic viticulture, to be their estate manager. Christian Jacques concludes that “We have not chosen Clau de Nell, so much as Clau de Nell has chosen us!”
“The 10 hectares (24.7 acres) of vines is situated on a gently sloping hill surrounded by open countryside. in the Loire Valley wine region of Anjou, southeast of Angers and northwest of Saumur, in the village of Ambillou-Château. The vines range in age from 30 to 90 years. The vineyard, sits on a south-facing knoll, consisting of eight contiguous hectares (19.8 acres), of which five hectares (12.4 acres) are planted to Cabernet Franc, two hectares (4.9 acres) to Grolleau and one hectare (2.5 acres) to Cabernet Sauvignon. The soil is sandstone grit and red flint over tuffeau (the soft limestone of the region). The vineyard is on a slope at an altitude of just 90 meters (295 feet), 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean. From the top of the knoll, surrounded by open countryside, the Loire River can be glimpsed in the distance.
“The highest point of Clau de Nell offers a glimpse of the Loire in the distance; from here, an uninterrupted view unveils the sky and the river on the horizon, as well as rows of Grolleau, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc. As with Domaine Leflaive, all of Clau de Nell’s wines are 100 percent biodynamic. Overall, the wines from Clau de Nell are remarkably structured, terroir driven and age-worthy.”
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