Clos de Tue-Bœuf & Puzelat-Bonhomme
Cheverny & Touraine
This is an estate that has created major waves in France over the past 10 years. They are on every blackboard wine list in every important wine bar in Paris and their wines, despite the affordable prices, are strictly allocated.
Two things define the Puzelat brothers' wines : the diversity of their cuvées, and their tenacious work with nearly-extinct grape varieties that were common in the Loire not so long ago, but were put aside by the AOC for reasons having more to do with commercial simplification than quality and terroir.
Clos de Tue-Bœuf is run by two brothers, Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat, who tend their 10-hectare family estate in Les Montils (in the Cheverny AOC) and rent 6 hectares in a village nearby, in the Touraine AOC. The region, near the hunting grounds of Sologne, has always used a wide variety of grapes. The brothers were lucky: their father had always worked Clos du Tue Boeuf with a very limited range of organic products and so the soils are alive; he also had never machine-harvested his vineyards or used industrial yeasts. The resultant wines are vibrant, translucent, and explosively flavourful and in many ways taste like they are home-made in that they have an honesty, truthfulness and wholesomeness in their flavours.
Thierry would have liked to expand the Clos du Tue Boeuf, by renting or buying more vineyards but his brother Jean-Marie, single and in his late forties, did not want to add more vineyard and cellar work to his already heavy schedule. So Thierry started a separate business with a friend, set up a winery in the village of Les Montils, and sourced excellent vineyards and growers to buy their grapes.
True to his conviction that good wine is made from healthy grapes, he has selected grape growers who farm their plots organically and bio-dynamic for some and so he now offers a range of local wines, both from Touraine and Cheverny. They are naturally every bit as good and interesting as those of Clos de Tue Boeuf.