The vineyards of the Domaine Charles Joguet have ancient and somewhat curious origins. As the case for many domains, the phylloxera invasion and the advent of mechanised farming led the Beaudoin-Joguet-Malécault family to turn to multiple cropping.
Their Sazilly vineyards, however, which are entirely planted with Cabernet Franc, date back to 1830 or maybe earlier.
As for the Clos de la Dioterie, it was a vineyard one or two centuries before the French Revolution.
In the Beginning...
Charles Joguet founded the domain in 1957. Following several years of artistic studies (painting and sculpture), which he had begun in Paris in 1949, he took the helm of the family property when his father died.
With the help of a small horse, he and his mother, Mrs. Joguet-Malécault – whose initials are displayed on our tin caps – managed to look after the vines and produced some good wine.
But the great qualities of Clos de la Dioterie, which has since become famous for its terroir and for the age of its vine stock (80 years), gradually gave them the desire to improve their knowledge of winemaking.
At that time, three men with strong personalities gave Charles some valuable advice.
First came Marcel Angelliaume, a winegrower from Cravant, who told him after his father’s death: “Charles, you should bottle your wine. It won’t be easy, there will be a little of this and that, but if you have any trouble, come see me. And it will be much easier for your mother to sell it if it is bottled.” Charles followed his advice, as he did in 1959 that of Jacques Puisais – founder of the French Taste Institute and now Honorary President of the International Union of Oenologists, and in 1963 that of old man Tafonneau, probably the best winemaker in the whole of Chinon at the time.
By helping Charles and placing their trust in him, these exceptional individuals enabled him to take advantage of various opportunities and to carry out his plans by planting vines in Les Varennes du Grand Clos, Clos de la Cure, and Clos du Chêne Vert between 1962 and 1976, always relying on technical innovation.
Vinification By Plot and Early Innovations...
Charles Joguet is a nonconformist whose original ideas have led to many technical innovations. For example, in 1975 the first stainless steel vats for “punching the cap” (pushing the solid matter, or cap, at the top of the vat back down into the juice) were created, in collaboration with Jacques Puisais and Guérin. Similarly, the grapes then started to be harvested in small, 20kg crates – so as not to crush the grapes – with holes allowing the harvest to dry naturally in case of rain.
More importantly, Charles Joguet determined in the late 1950’s that grapes from different plots, each having its particular terroir and vines of a particular age, must imperatively be harvested, made into wine, and sold separately. He drew his inspiration from the Burgundians, who had been cultivating their vineyards by “cru,” or growth, for quite some time already. This was an extremely new idea in the Loire valley at the time, since most winegrowers were still blending their wines with varying expertise, thereby erasing the characteristics of each terroir, but also the freshness and liveliness of their young vines or the stronger structure of older vines.
In keeping with this concept, Charles Joguet planted one hectare (approx. 2.5 acres) of Varennes du Grand Clos using cabernet Franc de Pied – i.e. without rootstocks – in an attempt to rediscover the nature of pre-phylloxera wines.
In the early 1980’s, Charles Joguet was determined to preserve all the accomplishments he had made to create a domain to his liking. For that purpose, he decided to surround himself with people displaying complementary skills.
In 1983, Charles Joguet met Michel Pinard, who became his key man for everything concerning vines and vinification by the following year. Michel is therefore responsible for the celebrated vintages of 1989 and 1990 that give us such great pleasure to this day... and of all the vintages produced until 2004.
Then, in 1985, Jacques Genet and its family joined the domain and became Charles Joguet’s partner, giving a new dimension to the domain. In addition to a couple of acres of vine on the lovely Monplaisir hillside, whose soil closely resembles that of Chêne Vert, Jacques Genet brought with him the land he owned in Beaumont-en-Véron, where two dozen acres of Cabernet Franc were planted in the years that followed..
In 1997, a mere forty years after having founded the domain that bears his name, Charles Joguet retired from winemaking to return to his other passion that never faded, painting.