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There is a place, named Fosse-Sèche...

On the 20th December, 2021, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate published an article, penned by Stephen Reinhardt, about " A Wine from a Producer That Exemplifies Sustainability" the 2019 Réserve du Pigeonnier produced by our beloved friends, Adrian and Guillaume Piré at Château de Fosse-Sechè.

Instead of "copy and paste" the article, we decided to put together an article based around his publishing hoping to give you a more insight of the history and life of the estate. 

"Quedam domus que dicitur Fossa Sicca..." ( 1238 ); there is a place, named Fosse-Séche.

Winegroving dates back to the Benedictine monks in the Middle Ages, who planted the first vines here over 800 years ago at Fosse-Séche. Although many evidence had been buried by now, just like the centuries underground passages that once connected the estate with the nearby priory, and stretched out for an impressive 5kms in length, there are still plenty landmarks to indicate, you have arrived at one of the oldest winery in France whose history rivals many others in Burgundy.

Whilst having freshly baked bread in the banal oven ( a common oven )  by Adrian the estate's master fournier and co-owner, Guillaume, his twin brother explains to us, that opposite our building, that is now functioning as dining/tasting room and office for the winery are the medieval wine vats, one of the oldest masonry vats in France and pre-arrival of the brothers, for centuries, were used as stables to house cows and horses.
As we follow the brothers around the estate they shows us the castle wall, the old chapel and the dovecote; centuries old buildings, but the history doesn't stop there. Guillaume also points out that Château de Fosse-Sèche is the birthplace of the Cabernet d'Anjou; also France's first rosé appellation. This winemaking technique or wine style was created through the experiments by Paul Taveau the previous owner of the estate in 1905, earning Mr Taveau two prizes ath the 1905 and 1910 World's Fairs in Liege and Brussels. 
"If one tries to reduce the wines of the Loire to a common denominator, they are all united—whether white, red, rosé or sparkling—by their lightness and finesse accompanied by invigorating freshness and beguiling fragrance. Powerful, concentrated wines, as they came into vogue worldwide in the 1990s at the latest and also into the top ranks of points, are found here even more rarely; although recently, due to weather conditions, such representatives have been successful more and more often, especially among the red wines. Some Cabernet Francs even seem to adapt to the type of Cabernet that is cultivated outside the Loire, from Bordeaux to Tuscany to South Africa, Canada and, of course, California. Although pure Cabernet Francs are still comparatively rare outside the Loire Valley, they do exist—and they have little in common with the wines of the Loire, but very much in common with each other. They are dark, dense, full-bodied and insanely concentrated. As a rule, these wines, which often seem polished and well-made, earn higher ratings than the often-pristine Cabernets of the Loire and serve—as recently demonstrated in Chateau Angélus's Hommage à Elisabeth Bouchet (100 Parker points)—as prime examples of accomplished Cabernet Franc. " - Stephen Reinhardt

As mentioned above, Guillaume and Adrien Pire owns and runs the estate that their family owns since 1998, and winemaking wasn't a new adventure for the twin brothers who grew up in Africa; prior to purchasing Fosse-Séche they owned and made wine in Madagascar. Since 2012, the twins and their families live and work at the farm; it was a common decision to achieve their goal, a passion that they share for nature and wine to settle in a vineyard, and build a place where fauna and flora enjoys primacy.

Fosse-Séche has been converted to biodynamic farming in 2013; these principles energise the soil, and making the vines more resistant. These necessary steps were made on the arrival of the twins to the estate. They abolished all viticulture inputs and practices that are modifying the natural balance of the grapes and thanks to all the efforts and hard work made by them, supported by their wives, Fosse-Séche is now certified organic. A nature reserve, a local Noah's ark with its ecosystem. 
The wines from Fosse-Séche have a strong identity from its exceptional terroir through the guiding and loving hands of Adrian and Guillaume. 
"The Chenin and Cabernet vines stand in a nature reserve on ferruginous flint soils, which, for all their finesse, gives them a fascinating edginess and tension. In order to let their Cabernet Franc express itself as purely as possible, no oak barrels have been used here for years, only concrete tanks and concrete eggs. In any case, naturalness is the top maxim here in every respect. The unique location of the estate, far from any industry, and the humanistic spirit of the Pire family were the best prerequisites for practicing ecological, biodynamic and sustainable viticulture in every respect from the very beginning, which includes the planting of trees and hedges as well as other crops and has thus created a biotope over the years that attracts birdwatchers as well as botanists." - Stephen Reinhardt
We would like to recommend you two wines from Fosse-Séche excellent 2018 vintage. Arcane that is produced using relatively young vines, under 25 years old. This delicate, but complex Chenin Blanc could be the solution or right answer to those sceptic about natural wines. Interesting fact about Arcane: it was aged for a year partially in concrete egg shaped vats, and a unique touch from Fosse-Séche: aging their white wines on its lees in an old horizontal stainless steel beer tank! The second wine is Eolithe. Named after the knapped flint nodules found on the Jurrassic plateau, here at the estate that is rich in Silex - flint soil formed by clay, limestone, silica with some gravel.  The vines are up to 60 years old with a very unique style and flavour that comes from the iron-dioxide rich soil. For testimonial, I would like use Stephen Reinhardt words:
"If I had to name a domaine that is leading the way to the “Cabernet Franc of the future,” it is Château de Fosse-Sèche..." 
Happy drinking!


Château de Fosse-Sechè Saumur Blanc Arcane 2018
Château de Fosse-Sechè Saumur Blanc Arcane 2018, Loire, France

£36.69

Chateau de Fosse Seche Eolithe Saumur
Château de Fosse-Sechè Eolithe 2018, Loire, France

£35.99