Domaine du Closel

Savenneières is tiny: 146 hectares of vines with a mere 36 Vignerons. Domaine du Closel has 16 of those hectares. They're just over the hill from the famous Nicolas Joly. Closel has been in the same family—and has been planted to vines since 1495! The incredibly smart and endearing Evelyne de Pontbriand is the latest in a long line of female vignerons running the estate.

Evelyne originally chose to pursue a career as a teacher of French literature. She took over the estate from her mother in 2001 and immediately started making changes (no, mom wasn’t so happy at the start). Her focus has always been in the vineyard, switching to organic viticulture right away. Closel was eventually certified and is now working towards biodynamics as well as experimenting with vine plantings, pruning methods and disease controls.

The vinification changed drastically as well (yes, it freaked mom out). Fermentations happen spontaneously in barrel, sometimes taking up to a year (most white wine fermentation completes in 2-3 weeks). Wines rest on their lees for up to 26 months and tiny amounts of sulphur are added only when necessary. Nothing else is done except periodic tasting and assemblage (Mom is happy with the lighter work schedule).

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