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Domaine Ricard

Domaine Ricard lies on the north side of the Cher River, about a 45-mi...

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Domaine Ricard lies on the north side of the Cher River, about a 45-minute drive from Tours. Chenonceaux, the famous castle that juts into the river, is about twenty kilometers to the west. We have left the Chenin Blanc territory of Vouvray and Montlouis near Tours and passed into firm Sauvignon Blanc terrain. Grapes have been grown on the property for 5 generations, and the Ricard family were founding members of the local Oisy-Thésée wine co-operative. The co-op, like many in France, was mostly interested in quantity over quality, with grapes being paid for by the kilo and wine being made in a factory setting. In the early 1990’s, Vincent Ricard studied viticulture and did an apprenticeship in Chinon, then finishing his enology degree in 1996. Fresh out of school, he returned to Chinon, where Philippe Alliet (for whom he had worked earlier) offered him a job. For a couple of years, Vincent learned to vinify red wine and follow it in barrel. More importantly, however, he learned the obsessive vineyard details practiced by Alliet (ground cover, plowing, green harvests, organic farming—to name some), methods that were not taught by his teachers at school. Vincent decided to move closer to home and took a job in Montlouis with Claude Levasseur, the uncle of François Chidaine, in 1997. It was here that he learned to vinify white wine in barrel and follow its progression in oak.? In the spring of 1998, Vincent returned home and was employed by his father Alain in his hometown Théssé. The following year, they bought themselves out of their cooperative contract, formed a GAEC together, and Domaine Ricard was born. Since that time, many things have changed at the property: Alain has retired, Vincent has married and become a father, several new parcels of vines have been purchased, the vineyards have become fully organic, and the domaine is now one of the most esteemed in the appellation. The vineyards lie on southern facing slopes, with nearly 15 hectares planted in Sauvignon Blanc, along with a bit of Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Cot (Malbec). Vincent lets grass grow between his rows of vines instead of removing it with herbicide. No pesticides are used to combat insects. Vines are replaced using the shoots of neighboring vines. Pruning and occasional de-budding helps to limit yields. Vincent has expanded his cave, once a simple, small space built into the side of a hill that's now a rather modern winery (although still built into the same side of the hill and attached to the old cave). The majority of his production is white, and most of that is split between 3 dry Sauvignon Blanc cuvées. He also makes a couple of sweet wines, as well as a couple of solid red wines. Nearly three-quarters of his production is exported, and his wines have been praised by the international press. Like many other young producers in the Loire, he has chosen modern labels for his wines based on canvases painted by a friend, all of which are on display in his small and tastefully decorated tasting room. Ricard's wines are all about balance—the fruit is always lifted by just the right amount of acidity, and his wines never come across as being heavy. They are, however, precise with their fruit and defined on their finish, and are amazing values to boot.
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  • Domaine Ricard Touraine Cuvee Les Trois Chenes 2014 Front Label
    Domaine Ricard Touraine Cuvee Les Trois Chenes 2014
    Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, Loire, France
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    • Domaine Ricard Touraine Le Petiot 2014 Front Label
      Domaine Ricard Touraine Le Petiot 2014
      Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, Loire, France
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