Loire adventure: Clos du Tue Boeuf with Jean-Marie Puzelat

Jean-Marie Puzelat

Jean-Marie Puzelat

This was quite a visit at Clos du Tue Boeuf. I’ve met Thierry Puzelat before, and I’ve tasted these wines a bit. They are brought into the UK by Les Caves de Pyrene, and I’ve always loved them. Here was a chance to visit. Thierry was travelling, so we met with Jean-Marie, older brother of Thierry, who initially took over the domaine in 1990, before being joined by Thierry in 1994.

They farm 13 hectares of vines. Normally, they do 13 cuvées in any particular vintage, but in 2017 they will sadly be making only two. Frost has so decimated the vines that they will consolidate production into a red and a white wine. This is quite tragic for a small family domain. Despite their fame, these wines are still pretty affordable.

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The estate is fairly isolated from other vineyards, which means there’s plenty of biodiversity. Most of it counts as AOP Cheverny, but some is AOP Touraine. Soils are clay, flint and Blois chalk. In addition to their own vineyard holdings, they also buy grapes from the Cher valley, which they use for their P’tit Blanc du Tue-Boeuf, Vin Rouge and Vin Rosé.

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We turned up a bit late from our visit in Sancerre – the Loire is quite spread out. Jean-Marie initially didn’t seem very impressed. Running a family business like this is hard work if you do it the right way, and receiving people when you can easily sell all your wine is a hassle. He didn’t know us. But as we began tasting and talking, stretching our French a little, he warmed up, and kept pulling bottles.

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These wines are amazing. They have a vitality to them, freshness, and a mineral dimension.

Clos de Tue Boeuf P’tit Blanc 2016 Vin de France
This is a Sauvignon Blanc. Expressive and fresh with nice weight, with hints of apple and citrus. Textured with lovely weight in the mouth, and a mineral edge. 91/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Le Petit Buisson 2016 Touraine, Loire, France
Sauvignon. Complex and lively with pretty mineral-tinged citrus fruit. Lovely ripe apple notes and fine herbs, with good acidity. 92/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Cheverny ‘Frileuse’ 2016 Loire, France
Very fine and expressive with lovely stony mineral notes, and appealing pear and citrus fruit. This has depth and complexity with amazing mineral precision. It’s a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon, which is normal for this appellation. 93/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Romarantin ‘Frileuse’ 2016 Vin de France
Complex, mineral and fine with great acidity. Spicy with astonishing detail to the citrus and pear fruit. Powerful, savoury and saline with high acidity. 95/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Le Buisson Pouilleux 2015 Touraine, Loire, France
Apple, pears and spice. Rounded and a bit nutty with nice texture. Good acidity. So fine on the finish, and just keeps giving, with a stony, mineral edge. 94/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Brin de Chèvre 2015 Touraine, Loire, France
Menu Pineau is the variety here. Very mineral indeed, with keen acidity and apple and citrus fruit. So linear with good acid structure. Fine and expressive, this is an amazing linear wine with great acidity. 95/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Vin Rouge 2016 Vin de France
This is Gamay. Made from bought-in grapes, this is fresh and vital with sweet cherries and plums. Nice grip and a floral cherry fruit edge, as well as a hint of meatiness. Pretty and drinkable with lovely purity. Smashable but also has a hint of seriousness. 90/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Cheverny Rouge 2016 Loire, France
This is Gamay and Pinot Noir. Very fresh, direct style with red cherries, spit and raspberry grip. Has a stony directness. 92/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Pineau d’Aunis 2016 Vin de France
So fresh and peppery on the nose with lifted bright raspberries. Very distinctive. Peppery, light, juicy and vivid on the palate. Delicious and drinkable. 93/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf La Guerrerie 2015 Touraine, Loire, France
Cot and Gamay. Supple and quite full with sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. There’s red apple, and a bit of lift. Good structure. 92/100

Clos de Tue Boeuf Cheverny La Callière 2015 Loire, France
Slightly cloudy. Spicy and peppery with bright acidity. Nice weight, with red cherries and raspberries, and some grip. Spicy and peppery with a juicy finish. 92/100

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