Mikaël Bouges Les Couilles d'Anes 2018

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Touraine, Loire, France
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, minimal additional sulphites
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A new addition to the list for us, and the first time we've been able to hold of this, Mikaël's rarest wine of which only around 1000 bottles are made each year. 100% Côt from 35 year-old vines in a small, unique parcel of limestone clay and silex that is also dotted with unusual black stones, the eponymous and affectionately named 'Couilles d'Anes' - donkey balls. The grapes are destemmed and macerate for 12 days before being pressed off to old 500-litre barrels to rest for 18 months before bottling. A wonderfully detailed, precise expression, with compact blue and violet fruits, pretty aromatics and pronounced minerality.

Mikaël Bouges works 8 hectares of land split into various parcels dotted around Faverolles-sur-Cher. The vines sit close to the south bank of the river Cher and as a result the soils are rich with alluvial deposits of quartz and silex, both very characteristic of the region. He learned to tend vines organically and make wine with his father who also worked this way as far back as the early 90s, so a thoughtful approach in both the vineyard and the cellar has been with him from the start. Mikaël seeks to express these pieces of land directly, so only makes single varietal wine from each of the individual parcels.

The resulting wines are precise, profoundly mineral and transmit a real sense of place. In the cellar the fermentations occur spontaneously and the wines are not filtered or fined, with a small amount of sulphur used only at bottling. We feel they are very true to the region of Touraine in their expression; spotlessly clean and with incredible purity. We love to show them to wine drinkers who are in some way dubious about this very logical way of working - Mikaël’s wines tend to put paid to the sceptics. The wines from younger vines are made in tank and are great for the table; the older vines see an élevage in old barrels and invite deeper contemplation.