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Yannick Amirault

Yannick Amirault

Yannick Amirault's grandfather Eugene was one of the other farmers in Touraine, taking care of fruit trees, asparagus, vines and a few cows on his farm. The post-war industrial revolution in agriculture brought with it chemical fertilizers, causing principled and philosophical conflicts between generations. Instead of stepping into the boots of industrial agriculture, Yannick decided as a 22-year-old youth in 1977 to establish his eponymous farm around the 3.9 hectares of vineyards inherited from his grandfather Eugene. In this area of Malgagnes, Eugene had been making and bottling wine as early as 1947. In the 1990s, the new generation's less interest than before in heavy-duty agriculture allowed Yannick to acquire vineyards from two retired winegrowers, with which the estate's repertoire still includes the remarkable vineyard of the Bourgueil region, Le Grand Clos. After inheriting another 5 hectares of paddocks from his father, Yannick's Amirault farm gradually grew to its current size of 19 hectares. Of the farm's hectares, 13 are located in Bourgueil and 6 in Saint-Nicolas-de Bourgueil. In order to control the farm's production, Yannick and his son Benoît, who has been involved in the operation of the farm since 2003, do not intend to increase the nursery area any more.

Both the Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de Bourgueil areas have developed on the bottom of the old river, and the 25 plots of Amirault's farm are located in different parts of the area, enabling a diverse growth environment for the vines. With his grandfather's teachings firmly in his memories, Yannick decided already at the end of the 1970s to stop using chemicals on his plots, letting the grass grow freely between the rows of vines. In addition, he decided to reduce the number of buds in order to limit his harvest and ensure that the grapes ripen as uniformly as possible. Only Cabernet Franc is cultivated in the orchards, which is picked by hand in 2-3 batches when the yield reaches 40-45 hl/ha. Since 2009, all the plots have been certified for organic production, although the natural moon cycle has been the rhythm of Yannick's garden work for decades, and no chemical sprays or herbicides have been used on the farm since 1997.

Yannick also prefers tradition when working in the cellar. Chaptalization and acid correction are out of the question, and after 2003 the wines have been made in old wooden barrels instead of impersonal tanks made of stainless steel. Some of the wines age spontaneously in open tanks, which allows the grapes to be crushed with the feet. The farm wines are also vinified with the help of a natural yeast strain in cone-shaped wooden barrels, with gentle and natural maceration lasting up to 6 weeks. With Benoît, clay amphorae have also arrived in the cellars. Even in low yield years, only the juice from the first pressing is used and the rest is discarded. The wines are allowed to mature in large wooden barrels in the limestone cellars for 10-30 months, depending on the nature of the vintage. After the use of non-existent sulfur dioxide in the early 2000s, which was later recognized as too low, sulfite concentrations have been raised to a more considered level, so that the wines remain stable even in bottles. However, the wines are not clarified or filtered at all, which enables them to have the same youthfulness after many years of maturation, as Yannick had experienced when tasting and learning from his grandfather Eugene's wines. Amirault, which comes from the Arabic words 'emir', means leader and 'ault' means small. Known as an anti-conformist in his time, Yannick is seen today as a wise trendsetter in the region.

Yannick and Benoît Amirault produce a total of 9 different wines. The farm's annual production is around 80,000 bottles.

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