As the voice of the new generation at the Chéreau Carré winery in France’s Loire Valley, Louise Chéreau is shaking things up by creating fresh new expressions of traditional grapes and terroirs with her new line called Vices & Vertus. As part of this project, she’s created Katharos, a natural wine with zero added sulfur dioxide. Using carefully selected grapes from their Chasseloir estate (25 to 30-year-old vines on a prime location on the Maine river with schist soils), she crafts this delicate and elegant wine from 100% melon de bourgogne with the goal of creating the most transparent expression of grape and place. Katharos means “purity” in ancient Greek and aims to reveal the authentic aromas of the melon de bourgogne variety without the addition of any sulfur during vinification, allowing the aromatics to shine through.
Vintage Notes – A mild spring led to an early bud break. Early summer rains gave the vines enough hydration to get through a dry July and August. A dry end of the season allowed the luxury of picking at perfect maturity. Harvest occurred on the 9th of September, with healthy, concentrated fruit.
Vinification – The grapes come from a specific parcel at the Château de Chasseloir, carefully selected for its position on a south-facing slope and the schistous soil that imparts a balancing, refreshing character to the wine. The vines are carefully managed to respect the environment; herbicides are not used. The grapes are manually harvested at optimal ripeness. Zero sulfur was added during fermentation and bottling. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation to retain the refreshing acidity, and the must fermented completely dry with no residual sugar. The gravity-fed cellar enables the wine to be gently moved without the use of a pump, and aging took place in concrete tanks. Without the addition of sulfur, the wine is sensitive to oxidation, so bottling took place directly from the lees, using an inert bottling line to prevent oxidation.