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Thierry Hesnault

Thierry Hesnault cultivates 2,68 hectares of vineyards near Chahaignes, a small village in the departement called Sarthe in the northern part of Touraine. 

La Fosse Vineuse is Thierry’s 0,30-hectare vineyard situated in the middle of a forest with a sub-soil consisting of sand, clay and flint. The plot was planted back in 1910 with a clonal selection of Chenin Blanc that has later been replaced by a “selection massale” from Jean Pierre Robinot.

La Centenaire du Vauperroux is his 0,60 hectare vineyard with sand and iron in the underground planted in 1902 with ungrafted Pineau d’Aunis with red branches (rameaux rouges).

On top of that Thierry has 1,68 hectares of land on a few different sites that have been planted with the hybrid grape called 54-55, an ungrafted so-called “producteur direct” variety that’s frost resistant and has no need for copper or sulphur treatments. These vines are 50-60 years old. In 2017 and 2018, however, Thierry added some “Rava”, which is an old “vin de table” grape variety to the plot.

Thierry’s cellar is buried deep in a cave made of tuffeau limestone, with no running water or electricity, and his wines are fermented at very low temperatures and thus very slowly. 

His whites are pressed directly and fermented and aged in old barriques for 1-2 years without being topped up, depending on the vintage. However, there has only been a flor formation at very rare occasions.

The reds are fermented in whole clusters with approximately 3 weeks’ maceration with a soft and gentle “remontage” and then aged in old barriques for 1-2 years, depending on the vintage.

All of Thierry’s wines are worked by gravitation, except the hybrid grapes which he makes into a pétillant naturel. His wines are unfined, unfiltered and sulfite and CO2-free, and the pét-nats are turned gently and disgorged by hand.

We’re super proud to be able to work with Thierry Hesnault, an old school Touraine-vigneron that doesn’t seek the limelight like some of his more famous and flamboyant headlamp-wearing neighbors, as Solfinn ironically comments:

“The wines from the hands of Thierry Hesnault are truly ‘big’ wines in any sense that make sense to me. When I wrote my book I struggled to explain what I meant by this term. Cause in my book a big wine doesn’t translate to a powerful wine. Actually it’s quite the opposite. It’s fragility. It’s that overwhelming intensity and clarity in the liquid that makes you drink the wine like water. It’s about minerality and salinity. That’s when a wine really gets to me, and Hesnault’s wines really does that!

I worked with the flamboyant neighbor’s wine here in Copenhagen when no one wanted to buy them. Cause it was Burgundy prices for wine from unknown “potato land” in Loire. No one in Copenhagen doubts the quality of the wines from Jean Pierre Robinot today and just because you don’t know Thierry Hesnault, you shouldn’t doubt the quality of his wines. You will only pass out on something truly extraordinary!”

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