The Estate

Genealogical searches, undertaken by René-Noël, testify that Legrand family has been working the vineyard since the 17th century, that is for twelve generations, whose Clotilde is the first women.

 

  • The vineyard and his "terroir"

The vineyard is comprised of 15 hectares of Cabernet Franc - thisdomaine-legrand-clos-de-vignes-en-fevrier.jpg
grape variety produces red wine from the Loire Valley of the AOC Saumur-Champigny -
divided up into about twenty plots split between the villages of Saumur, Dampierre, Chacé, Varrains and Souzay-Champigny. The average age of the vines is around 45 years, and the oldest plots date back to 1927.

A small plot of Chenin - white grape variety - produces Saumur Blanc, a dry white wine from the Loire Valley. A year with good late season conditions (warm, sunny and dry weather during September and October) enables us, on this same plot, to produce Coteaux de Saumur, a sweet white wine from the Loire Valley.

In Saumur, vines grow on gentle slopes traditionally enclosed by walls and there are some picturesque remains. These freestone walls, which are typical of the local vineyard, provide protection for the vines and optimal brightness to aid maturation of the grapes.
The vines planted in limestone and chalk soils of the Cretaceous (Middle Turonian, 90 million years ago) produce the best Saumur-Champigny.

 

  • At work in the vineyard

For the last twenty years, winegrowers have sown grass between rows to reduce the vigour of the vines in order to control the yield. This technique encourages richer wines. Moreover, this cover planting helps maintain natural enemies which play an important role in integrated pest control, which is one of environmentally friendly methods to fight pests. In 1991, René-Noël was one of the first winemakers at Varrains to apply this technique on all of his vineyard.

domaine-legrand-vignoble-en-novembre.jpgSome key steps:

Single Guyot pruning from December to February, this work requires experience that is acquired over time. Vine shoots are ground to return organic matter back to the soil.

Disbudding: all the unwanted branches growing on new branches or on vine stocks are removed in order to limit the yield and the foliage.

Stripping (leaf removal) in July, this manual work aerates clusters and allows them to take full advantage of the sunlight.

Cluster thinning in July, called green harvest, the remaining clusters will be better nourished and of a higher quality.

Hand harvest (exclusively) at the beginning of October, is the intensive work of 25 people for 2 weeks.
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  • The cellar of the estate

The area of Saumur is known for its limestone: the tufa. The first cellars were dug by man, over a thousand years ago and make up a huge underground network. Many fossils, for example ammonites and oysters, were discovered during the extraction of limestone blocks.

acave-domaine-legrand-vieilles-bouteilles.jpg
By digging these tunnels in the "tuffe", our ancestors achieved two things:
- They exploited this natural material for the construction of buildings which remain the pride of the Loire Valley as castles, abbeys, churches, houses and enclosed vineyards...
- Then they used these galleries as a shelter for themselves or for their livestock and as place of winemaking.
These cellars have the advantage of providing ideal conditions for wine storage because of high relative humidity and temperature being both fresh and constant (≈12°C).

From the 15th century, galleries dug into hillside have served as troglodytic dwellings. At the end of the 19th century, some were converted into mushroom factories.

Our cellar can be visited.
More recent, dating from the early 19th century, it is still used for barrel ageing and storage of bottles of exceptional vintages. Apart from a few bottles of 1893, the oldest date back to the years 1910-1930, at the time the caps were not vintaged...

  • The artistic signature of the estate

domaine-legrand-papier-peint.jpg
It is not unusual that wine estates contain some "originality." The Legrand's estate is proud to have his own. In fact, in the house from 1820, a panoramic wallpaper, showing hunting scenes in a traditional 18th century style, adorns the four walls of the lounge. This feature of artistic interest led to the lounge being classified by the French "Monuments Historiques" and restored in 1993.
Insets present on the estate labels reproduce extracts from this remarkable decor.



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