Louis Dressner: In the village of Husseau, François Chidaine has worked alongside his father Yves for many years on two independent estates. François has strong feelings about viticulture, and works his vines the old-fashioned way, but does not want any mention of organic viticulture on his bottles although he is certified organic. He writes: “Wine is born from the vine, not from artificial skills of re-creation in the winery. It is sufficient to start modestly by working the soil.” Retail website
Chidaine is considered to be one of the great wine-makers in the Loire. His wines show a combination of finesse, minerality and power which we only encounter in the great wines of France. This is due to a number of factors, not least of which is his commitment to working the soil of his vineyards, and lowering yields below fifty hectoliters per hectare (3.5 tons per acre). The wines are only minimally chaptalized, and sugar is never added to a wine which is destined to have residual sugar (i.e. Les Tuffeaux, Clos Habert). The wines often ferment very slowly, sometimes all winter, in Chidaines cold limestone cellars, and this makes for complexity in the wines which is unattainable through faster fermentations. Slow fermentations also allow the wine-maker to postpone adding sulfur to the wine because of the continual, anti-oxidant blanket of CO2 produced, thus lowering the total amount needed in the wine.