Christophe Foucher, the enigmatic man behind La Lunotte lives in the hamlet of Couffy near the Touraine river in the Loire valley. Visiting him is always a treat, rolling up his little house, Chrstophe at the stable door, looking slightly dazed. We tend to head pretty quickly to the cellar, crawling through the hobbit-hole that leads to his barrel room where the walls are covered in the history of fermentation since he started in 2002. Most of his wines tend to see some time in barrel, the whites, always pressed off and left on the lees in barrel for the winter before being transferred to tank when they are ready to bottle. When they are ready as Christophe is very keen not to let his wines leave the cellar before they are ready. His strong convictions led to one year when he had but one barrel of wine, refusing to buy fruit, in his words, he ate cheaply that year.
.In the barrel cellar things always start to feel a little magical, his wines seem to have a purity of fruit that is lazer-like in it’’s accuracy. In reality it’s the hard work that Christophe has and continues to put into the vineyard, his attention to detail that makes the wines this way.
Those vineyards lie on a mix of soil types, including flint, silex, clay and sand, he relies heavily on cover crops in the vineyards and only uses small doses of copper if needed. He does not try to get the AOC and is dismissive of it and the amount of chemicals they permit winemakers to use. Bottling is by hand.
Take for example his Cabernet Franc - La Flou. to make this wine he upends a barrel, takes the top off, fills the barrel with juice and destemmed fruit and seals it again. It is left there for months, an old technique which seems to give the most silky tannins and fruit to a grape that in this area, can tend toward greenness.This is a time-consuming and specialist old-fashioned technique that requires experience and skill and many winemakers would not put in the time. In his own words. "I am an artisan, I do not want for anything more. But nor do I want anything less."
To my mind Christophe makes some of the consistently thrilling and downright delicious wines anywhere.