Touraine > St Nicolas de Bourgueil
St Nicolas de Bourgueil
AOP/AOC by decree dated 31st July 1937, amended 22nd September 2011
Location: This appellation follows the boundaries of the village of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil; its vineyards are planted in the west of Touraine, in a nature reserve on the upper terrace of the Loire’s right bank just below the forest and above the network of Troglodyte caves.
Vineyard Area: 1,090 ha.
History: Vines have almost certainly been grown in this area since Roman times, but it was not until the founding of the Abbey of Bourgeuil in 990 that the region’s winemaking activity began to flourish in earnest-including in Saint- Nicolas. The Breton grape first made its appearance here in 1152, when Anjou and Aquitaine became united.
Soil: The area lies largely on a wide terrace of ancient alluvial deposits with deep soils made up of sand and gravel. Above the terraces, one third of the vineyard extends across a Turonian chalk (tuffeau) slope with a top layer of sand.
Climate: The vineyard here overlooks the Loire at the point where it joins the Vienne, widens significantly and allows maritime influences to be felt in full. The climate here is slightly more oceanic than in Bourgueil, but the same woodland slopes protect the more exposed hillsides from north winds.
Average annual production over the last 5 years: 57,800 hl.
Reds: 56,900 hl.
Rosés: 900 hl.
Base Yield: 55 hl/ha.
Varietals: Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon is authorized to 10% of the blend, but is seldom used.
Growing Practices: Planting density: 5,000 vines per hectare. Pruning (generally single guyot) is strictly controlled.
Appearance: Vibrant, deep red colour.
Nose: Wines grown on gravel soils show an itense nose of red berries and violets; those planted in tuffeau show raspberries, blackberries, liquorice and spice, developing notes of undergrowth and leather.
Palate: Some wines are supple and flowing, others dense and fleshy, settling down over time. A fresh, balanced finish.
Serve young wines grown on terraces at 14°C; 17° for older wines.
Grilled, pan-fried or sautéed white meats deglazed with brown stock or fish in tomato sauce. The more robust wines pair well with full-flavored dishes such as entrecote steak in red wine, fresh goats’ cheese or jugged hare.
Gravel-grown wines will mature quickly, while those grown in tuffeau will continue to develop for 5-10 years.