Andrew Guard

Côtes du Forez

The remote and somewhat unknown Côtes du Forez appellation is located between the Loire and Allier rivers in the center of France. Domaine Verdier-Logel is the leading estate of this small and obscure appellation where vineyards are few and far between. The Côtes du Forez hillsides are foothills of the volcanic mountains of the Massif Central and have soils of granite and volcanic composition. Due to the difficult climate only parcels with the best exposition and soils are planted to grapevines. The appellation’s laws mandate Gamay as the sole grape to be used and Verdier-Logel produces separate wines from volcanic soils “Volcanique” and granite soils “Cuvée des Gourmets“. These soils impart a rich earthy fragrance to the wines which combines well with the elegant fruitiness of the gamay grape.

Odile Verdier and her husband Jacky Logel arrived at the domaine in 1992 when they enlarged the exisiting domaine with the acquisition and planting of more vineyards. They began vinifying their own fruit as soon as they arrived and bottling their own wines too; and with that Verdier-Logel was born. During the years that followed they converted their vineyards to organic viticulture with official certification from 2000 onwards.

These vines are planted on two specific terroirs which characterise the Côtes du Forez appellation, these being basalt and granite. Generally, here anyway, granitic soils tend to make a lighter wines, while the volcanic basalt soils, which are richer with clay and iron, make deeper, more structured wines.

The first cuvée from vines planted on granitic soils, is the Cuvée des Gourmets. These vines were planted by Maxime's grandfather Paul Verdier during the 1960s and are some of the oldest on the domaine. The fruit sees just ten days of maceration and it is a light, pretty and vibrant style. La Volcanique comes from basalt soils and the wine sees a maceration lasting three weeks, giving it more structure, substance and length. Both are superb and incredibly attractive wines that are seriously delicious!

Written by Andrew Guard — June 23, 2017