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Domaine Fabrice Gasnier

Article: March  2019

Carte AOC Chinon

Region : Loire

Appellation : AOC Chinon

Winemaker : Fabrice Gasnier

Area : 30  hectares

Grape varieties : 95% Cabernet Franc, 5% Chenin

Climate : Temperate oceanic

Labels : Demeter  and organic farming

Label Bio

The Chinon appellation



The AOC has  took the name of the city of  Chinon, in the Indre et Loire department, 40km south-west of Tours. Chinon brings together 200 winegrowers on 2,400 hectares of vines. The soils are very diverse with an upper Cretaceous limestone formed 90 million years ago, flint , sandy soils, and rolled granites carried from the  Massif Central by the Loire.

The vineyard has been exploited since Roman times (3rd century)  and experienced a strong development thanks to the presence of the kings Henri II Plantagenêt count of Anjou and king of England, Philippe Auguste, then Charles VII , King of France. She is today  recognized  for its red wines, largely in the grape variety. The king variety (of Bordeaux origin) is Cabernet Franc , sometimes associated with Cabernet Sauvignon up to 10%. On the white side, Chenin (an indigenous grape variety) stands out as the benchmark but only represents 3% of the vineyard.

The  diversity of soils gives heterogeneous red wines, which can be very fine, or powerful. Prestige vintages  are often aged in oak barrels, giving them  tertiary aromas of vanilla or cedar.  The white wines are dry, mineral and floral.

The domain

The Gasnier family has been making vines in Chinon for 4 generations . The story began with the great-grandfather of Fabrice Gasnier who owned only 3 hectares of vines. Today, the estate covers 30 hectares and was converted to organic and biodynamic in 2008 with the obtaining of the Demeter label. The estate is located on the banks of the Loire in Cravant-les-Côteaux, 10km east of Chinon. The soils of the Domaine reflect the diversity of the terroirs of Chinon: Rolled granites, Siliceous clay, Flint, and Limestone clay .


Fabrice Gasnier accompanied by his wife Sandrine,  work their vines biodynamically , respecting the natural cycles of the vine, the stars, and microbial life. This allows the vines to strengthen themselves naturally against diseases but also against drought, by fetching water more deeply: between 5 and 7 meters underground.  

The vineyard is grassed in winters, and partially weeded in spring  with  plowing the land which helps to aerate the soil. The grass provides shelter for predatory insects (ladybugs, mites, etc.) allowing a natural balance to be recreated. After pruning the vine, the branches are grouped together in the middle of the rows, then crushed to make humus which will provide  the nutrients necessary for the proper development of  grapes.


The chemicals, usually used to treat vines against  various mushrooms  are prohibited. In a logic  to respect ecosystems , natural products such as copper, sulfur or seaweed are preferred.

The harvest is manual. This allows a better selection of the grapes before destemming and then crushing. This process preserves all the aromas of Cabernet Franc, with its tannins coming from the skin of the grapes.  which are finer than those of the stalk.


When you arrive at the estate, you immediately notice  the organization and modernity of the facilities . The welcome is warm and the cellar which receives visitors for tastings is always full.  not. We discuss among amateurs, we learn that Father Fabrice Gasnier was for a long time mayor of the village and organized wine competitions in Chinon, with tastings at  blind (and without favoritism  !).

Fabrice has kept this critical mind by always striving to do better. He regularly tastes his wines still in aging  (in barrels or vats) at  the blind,  in order to objectively determine which wines are ready or which must wait for bottling. The work is meticulous with a deep respect for nature and its cycles.  




At the tasting, the result is there :

- Les graves is a lively wine, with incomparable fruit and a beautiful structure. It comes from young vines on clay-limestone soils. It is vinified in concrete vats , which allows neutral aging, allowing the wine to deliver the purity of Cabernet Franc aromas.

Signature is the estate's great wine. The grapes come from  old vines (over 70 years old) giving extra depth to the wine. Aging in oak barrels gives  silky tannins and allows the development of additional aromas such as  licorice or  toast . In short, a superb Chinon which will not leave you indifferent, which can be tasted young but which also has good aging potential.   

- The rosé is a wine with direct pressing, with a clear color. It is lively and subtle with citrus aromas . It also comes from young plants of  Cabernet Franc and  bears the Chinon appellation .



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