winemaker Hervé Villemade
Region: Loire Valley
Grape varieties : chardonnay, sauvignon, gamay, pinot noir
Surface Winery : 25 ha
Annual production: 130.000
Certification: AB organic wine, Ecocert
The natural wines of Hervé Villemade
In the heart of the Cheverny appellation , in the commune of Cellettes, Hervé Villemade and his sister Isabelle naturally cultivate the vine and produce natural wines that are as good for drinking as for laying down!
Organic certification and tillage
Since Hervé Villemade tasted the wines of Marcel Lapierre, the master of "no sulfur" in the Beaujolais region, as well as those of his neighbor in the Loir et Cher region, Thierry Puzelat, he decided to direct his work towardsorganic agriculture. The 23 hectares of vines of Winery are managed in organic agriculture according to European specifications. That is to say without using chemical fertilizers, but with natural phytosanitary products (sulfur and copper), working the soils and controlling their weediness, and controlling the yields, with a target of 40 to 45 hl/ha/year for the Winery, against the 55 to 60 hl/ha authorized according to the appellations. But droughts and frosts have largely reduced them over the last ten years, with yields from 2012 to 2018 averaging 20 hl/ha/year.
Beautiful and diversified terroirs
Most of the plots at Winery are surrounded by woods that form a natural border with the surrounding chemistry. The woods are a real asset to preserve the diversity of plants and animals and to facilitate the work in organic farming: there are no neighbors! The vineyard is divided into 3 groups without any adjoining areas: 7.5 hectares correspond to the place called La Bodice where chardonnay and sauvignon grow on clayey-siliceous sands: it is their white Cheverny! On 4.5 hectares, the red clays of Ardilles are favourable to pinot noir and gamay which compose in equal proportions their red Cheverny. Finally, a third block of 8 hectares on the Fougères plateau was acquired in 2009. Hervé Villemade keeps 2 hectares planted with pinot noir and chardonnay, rips out the rest and replants 5 hectares of pinot noir, sauvignon, pink and white, and pineau.
A great diversity of grape varieties adapted to their environment
TheGrape varieties is made up of pinot noir, gamay and côt which compose the red Cheverny and rosé (in generous years); of chenin, orbois and chardonnay to elaborate the natural sparkling wines.Orbois, the local name for pineau, is also used in the blending of white Cheverny with sauvignon blanc and rose and chardonnay. As for the romorantin, it is the exclusive Grape variety of Cour-Cheverny.
Manual harvest and vinification without any input
The grapes are harvested in crates and the whole bunches are vinified with a minimum of sulphur in different containers (fiber vats, barrels and half-muids) depending on the wines. In the cellar, the wines are pressed and matured without any inputs, only a minimal dose of sulfur is added during bottling to ensure good conservation of the wines. Low temperature fermentations ensure a slow process towards quality. Finally, the wines are matured for up to 24 months and sometimes need a little time to settle after bottling. The Winery, run by the Villemade family, has established itself as a leader in natural winemaking, allowing aromatic grape varieties such as Romorantin to express themselves without excess, but on the contrary with fruit and greed.