Bertrand Galbrun

VigneronBertrand Galbrun
LocationBenais (Indre-et-Loire)
Size of Domaine5.3 ha
TerroirContinental climate with Atlantic influence. Gravel, sand, clay and flint over Turonian chalk (tuffeau). Southern facing hillsides. 40-100m altitude.
ViticultureCertified organic (Ecocert) and biodynamic (Demeter)
View Bertrand Galbrun wines ↓

Located opposite Chinon on the right bank of the Loire, halfway between Tours and Angers, Bourgueil was granted AOC status as early as 1937 but red wine production dates back centuries. Bourgueil has three main soil types: sand on flat land closer to the river, gravel at the bottom of the coteau and clay-limestone at mid-slope level where tuffeau (friable chalky limestone) often outcrops.

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Bertrand Galbrun
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The sensitive and humble Bertrand Galbrun works 4.7 ha of vines, three of which are found on sand and gravel, usually a few meters deep before reaching the limestone bedrock. In 2019 he added 0.65 ha to his holdings of prime terroir on tuffeau, with a plot located right above Pierre Breton’s famous Clos Sénéchal and surrounded by woods. It is one of the very best terroirs of the appellation where he planted cabernet franc as well as chenin – a rarity locally since chenin is not part of the AC. Bertrand and a group of producers are currently lobbying the INAO to create the Bourgueil Blanc appellation.

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Sand and gravel at the bottom of the coteau
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Upslope outcropping tuffeau

Certified Demeter since 2015, Bertrand is part of a group of about ten vignerons, in Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas, who pull together (usually chez Bertrand!) to make their biodynamic preparations and minimize costs and labour. He is a hard worker and farms the 4.7 ha on his own, sometimes assisted by a seasonal employee in the busier summer months.

In the cellar, he likes to make wines that are pure and direct as he tries to interfere as little as possible. He favours low extraction with minimal pigeage or remontage during fermentation, preferring to work essentially by infusion. With the exception of the cuvée Tempérance which is aged in old oak, the élevage is done in cuves helping to retain a beautifully defined fruit quality. Sulphur levels never exceed 30mg/l total, and once bottled the wines are stored in ideal conditions, in the famously gigantic underground caves, dug out of tuffeau and connecting the many houses on the coteau.

01_Vine_Trail_Bertrand_Galbrun_5_3 Bertrand in his new plantier above the Clos Sénéchal

Bertrand Galbrun Wines

Bertrand Galbrun

BOURGUEIL 2017
Chatrois
100% Cabernet Franc (11.5% alc.)

Bertrand’s first cuvée comes from low yields of biodynamically worked 30yo vines planted in Restigné in sand and gravel soils with limestone at depth. Fermentation is carried out by gentle infusion with just three or four pumping overs during two weeks. Yields averaged 25hh in 2017 (he aims at 28hh), but no complaints after a frost ravaged 6hh in 2016. Aged for ten months in cement, the wine has a clear mid-red colour with cherry glints, it has attractive red fruits, is quite saline, and is a quality vin de soif. Low sulphur of around 30mg/l total.

Bertrand Galbrun

BOURGUEIL 2015
Impétueuse
100% Cabernet Franc (12.5% alc.)

In a normal year Bertrand makes just 3,000 bottles of this excellent wine from 45yo vines in a fine lieu-dit on a plateau with soils of deep gravels overlying limestone. Organically certified, the wine was cuve aged to retain all its fruit, has a dark raspberry colour, is well-balanced with some spice on the nose and sappy cherry fruit, fine grained tannins and is very clear cut with a saline mineral quality on the finish. Low sulphur of around 30 mg/l.

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