Certified Organic (Ecocert)
Variety: Cabernet Franc
Country, Region: France, Loire Valley
Made from a tiny walled clos right in front of Nicole & Yannick Amirault's house, located on the prime mid-to-high part of the slope above Bourgueil where the soil has 2 metres of clay over limestone. Planted in the late 1990’s this wine has only been released in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2017 with other vintages becoming part of the Grand Clos blend. This is the ultimate "insiders wine" as it is never listed for sale and only sold to those who know and appreciate. Quantities are tiny with only 2 barrels made in the years that is produced.
'Pavillon du Grand Clos is actually the official name of Domaine Amirault, but it also graces the label of their top bottling, which is made from their finest terroir. The vines here are still on the young side by the high standards of this domaine, but the vigor of these fifteen year-old cabernet franc vines is held in check by green harvesting and aggressive pruning. I do not have figures on how much new wood the wine is raised in, but it clearly sees some during its elevage. The 2010 Pavillon du Grand Clos is a young and outstanding bottle of Bourgueil, offering up a primary and very classy nose of dark berries, a bit of roasted meats, espresso, woodsmoke, tobacco leaf, dark soil tones, tree bark and a stylish base of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, focused and rock solid at the core, with a very youthful personality, firm, chewy tannins and a very long, nascently complex finish that closes with superb grip and intensity of flavor. This is a great bottle of Bourgueil in the making, but it will need some time in the cellar to start to blossom. 2020-2045.' 94 points, John Gilman, View from the Cellar.
'A black-tulip core with a claretty rim. The nose is determinedly concentrated, rich in fruit character, led by scents of blackberry, but delivered in a challenging, spicy and sooty style, with notes of black pepper and sweet black liquorice essence. Not to mention the Cabernet character coming through in a quite notable fashion, the fruit expressing itself through the scents of bay leaf and green peppercorn. The palate possesses a creamed-fruit texture, a velvety weight, and it is loaded with ripe and plush tannins. It boasts a massive texture but also a sense of openness and balance, with a little touch of high-toned lift to the fruit. A fabulously ripe wine, but it is bright too, and there is some aromatic complexity here, the middle and end perfumed with violets and rose petals. A serious, hugely structured wine which is brimming with tannic potential. I am glad to have a few more of these tucked away in the cellar.' 96 points, Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, May 2017.
‘Yannick and Benoît make a simply marvellous array of wines, vibrant and perfumed yet dark and confident at the lower levels, the wines from the more sandy soils, while those from the limestone terroirs sitting up above the alluvial terrace are capable of much greater things, given ten or fifteen years in the cellar. These aren't just wines to challenge those made in Chinon. Nor are these wines about which we should enthuse solely in the context of Bourgueil and St Nicolas de Bourgueil. This domaine, I believe, turns out some of the very best red wines in the entire Loire Valley. Overlook them to your disadvantage.’ Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor, January 2018.
Bourgueil is located west of Tours in the western part of the Loire Valley. Bourgueil is situated on the northern side of the Loire, across the river from Chinon, and represents one of the northern-most appellations for growing red grape varieties in France. There are a variety of soil types here with the biggest and most cellar-worthy wines generally coming from the best vineyards on the slopes located further away from the Loire to the north and north-east of the town of Bourgueil. The vineyards on the flat gravelly river soils closer to the Loire yield wines which are usually aromatic, elegant and earlier to mature.
Amirault has about 13 hectares of vineyard holdings in Bourgueil, mostly located on, or just at, the base of these slopes to the north and northeast of the village of Bourgueil. Yannicks son Benoit now runs the estate and like his father he has chosen to work organically in the vineyards and is certified organic (Ecocert). All vinifications are made with indigenous yeasts with minimal SO2 and ageing takes place in a mixture of large tronconic oak vats, larger demi-muid barrels and increasingly in clay amphora. Extraction is long (up to 6 weeks) yet very gentle. All wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.