It sometimes seems like Jean–François Mérieau’s mind goes faster than his hands. Although he already produces some of the most respected and sought-after wines of the Touraine, he’s not satisfied and is currently looking for new ways to express the old vines and rich landscape that is the Domaine Jean-François Mérieau.
Based in the tiny village of Saint-Julien-de-Chédon (which doesn’t seem much changed since the 17th century), Jean–François’ property stretches to almost 35 hectares planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cot, Pineau d’Aunis, Gamay and Chardonnay. Many of the vines are quite old, including the Pineau d’zunis which is over 100 years old, and the Cot, the youngest of which are 50 years old and the oldest over 100. Unlike most Touraine producers, the vineyards are plowed and the property is in conversion to organic certification. No commercial yeasts are used in the vinification.
The winery is based on a rich history that stretches back for generations. It’s not unusual to see three generations in the winery at the same time. Much of the winery and tasting room is in a cave that was carved during the 14th century. The “new” structure that houses many of the fermentation tanks was used by American soldiers during World War I and some left inscriptions on the walls.
In addition to his estate wines, Jean-François operates as a négociant buying fruit from several neighbors to make varietal wines under the Hexagonales label. The Pinot Noir comes from a parcel of Pinot Noir in Saint Pourçain on chalky clay-limestone soils. It is fermented and aged in tank preserving the crisp and crunchy red fruit typical of Pinot Noir grown in the Loire Valley.