Sébastien Brunet is a man of few words. He assumed control of Domaine Roche Fleurie in 2006, after the untimely passing of Michel, his father. The pair had worked together for six harvests following Sébastien’s graduation from the lycée viticole in Amboise. Michel had inherited some three hectares of vines from his father in 1974 and had quietly built up the domaine to 15 hectares by the time of his death. Some of these holdings are rented rather than owned, belonging to Michel’s brother, Jean, who is now in retirement. The vineyards stretch along the valley of the Brenne, a small tributary that runs perpendicular to the Loire and hosts vines on both the 1ère côteau and the plateau behind.
Sebastian Brunet Vouvray ‘La Folie’ Demi-Sec 2015
Everything is harvested by hand, into 15kg lug-boxes and the winemaking process sees as little intervention as possible. Just as Noël Pinguet once told me, the most important place to be in during the harvest is not out in the vines, but rather standing next to the press. Pinguet was convinced this was where the quality of the vintage was won or lost; determined by the degree of pressure and the length of the extraction. Brunet is no different; he implements a slow, gentle extraction in a pneumatic press, each load allowed up to 4h30 to ensure the capture of the best quality juice. Settling is slow and without the use of enzymes and, after 36 hours, the wines are allowed to begin their fermentation using only indigenous yeasts. As with all classic Vouvray, malolactic fermentation is never sought and very rarely occurs.- Richard Kelley MW.