Domaine de Pierre, Lionel Gosseaume

France, Loire

Lionel Gosseaume has been managing this nine hectare vineyard since 2007. The wines had previously been sold in bulk, but half the production is now bottled at the property. The aim is to grow top quality fruit to make the best possible wine. I came across Lionel at the Salon des Vins de Loire of 2010, and was immediately struck by the weighty depth of fruit in his Sauvignon and the sheer precision and detail in his exceptional Gamay. Talking to him it became clear why his wines stood out from the crowd:- he is a very conscientious vigneron, pruning hard and keeping yields low. This attention to detail continues in the cellar, where he works on the lees of the Sauvignon to give the wine a more ample feel and greater length. When I commented on the precision of the Gamay, and in particular its balance of juicy fruit and fine, supple tannins, he told me that it was all hand-picked, as for him it was the only way to get exactly this precise control and delicacy. Later this year we hope to have a small quantity of Lionel's 'Climat No.2', a half and half blend of Meslier Saint François with Sauvignon. Meslier Saint François is an all but extinct grape variety which was known to make huge yields of high-acid wine (so much so that the wine was exported to Germany as the base-wine for Sekt), but by pruning hard enough to keep the yields down, Lionel has succeeded in making a fascinating wine with extra spicy tropical fruit notes.