Certified Organic (Ecocert)
Variety: Cabernet Franc
Country, Region: France, Loire Valley
Appellation: Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil
The original Yannick Amirault parcel is Les Malgagnes, in St Nicolas de Bourgueil, located on the limestone côte, but not quite so far up the slope as the other three limestone lieux-dits which are further along, in Bourgueil. In Les Malgagnes the Amiraults have 2 hectares of vines, split between two parcels, aged on average 50 years. The superficial soils are rich in pale clay, with limestone beneath. Only the fruit from the upper section (above the grassy strip running through the middle of the lieu-dit, if you visit), where the limestone is much closer to the surface, is used for this cuvée. It sees a four-week maceration with an élevage lasting 12 months in large barrels. In 2015, however, a portion was also aged in three large amphorae. Of these, one was bottled as a special cuvée, Les Malgagnes Amphore, while the other was blended with the wine which underwent traditional élevage in oak. In subsequent vintages Yannick and Benoît have continued to produce these twin cuvées, which make for interesting side-by-side comparisons.
'The 2020 Malgagnes is very silky and elegant. The wines caresses the palate with its black cassis, dark chocolate and olive piquancy. Its ripe yet fresh; from chalky-clay soils, this gives a sense of purpose on the finish with fine-grained tannins that are currently abundant but perfectly extracted. Similar maturation to Le Grand Clos but a very different expression and needs laying down.' 93 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous Media, June 2022.
‘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.