Verdier Logel Poycelan Cotes du Forez 2018
Verdier-Logel was founded by husband and wife team Jacky Logel and Odile Verdier. Although originally from Alsace, they frequently vacationed in the Auvergne and finally decided to purchase a small plot of vines. Jacky took an oenology course and they produced their first vintage in 1992. The estate which is nestled in the foothills of the Massif Central currently covers 42 acres of Gamay, Viognier and Pinot Gris planted on granite and volcanic soils. They farm organically and biodynamically, producing wines that express the soil and terroir of the region. In 2019, after almost 30 years, Jacky retired, turning the running of the property over to their daughter Julie and nephew Maxime. The pair, with the help of Odile are continuing the family traditions. They are not remaining stagnant, however, building a new tasting room and visitor cellar—as Odile says, “continuing to evolve over time and passing on skills from one generation to another, to always offer wines of quality for the pleasure of its consumers.” They produce three wines, Volcanique grown on volcanic basalt soil and Cuvée des Gourmets and Poycelan both planted on granitic soil.
The story of the vineyard for the Poycelan cuvée is very interesting. Jacky sourced grape cuttings through massale selection (*see the definition below) throughout his and neighboring villages—finding old plants in neighbor’s gardens, local forests and other wine growers’ vineyards. He took cuttings and grafted them onto rootstock and planted them in the granitic soils of Poycelan. Massale Selection: A method of selecting the source of new vine plants. Massale Selection involves taking cuttings from a number of outstanding old vines from a vineyard and then propagating new vines from these cuttings. This is done to protect the diversity of the vineyards and to encourage a continuation of the preferred characteristics of the old vines.
In the case of his Poycelan vineyard, rather than settling for a new vineyard with homogenous clones, Jacky wanted diversity. Some of the vines from which he took cuttings were 100 years old with very distinct characteristics. 2018 was unusual in Côtes du Forez. Growth started early, but then spring was rainy. It required a lot of extreme attention on the part of the winemakers and their teams to assure a high-quality harvest. August was very hot and dry. In the end, the grapes harvested were both plentiful and high quality—producing an extracted lovely wine. The vines of Poycelan produce small berries (with a higher skin-to-juice ratio) and the wine undergoes a long maceration. Both of these factors result in an opaque wine with firmer tannins than normal for the region. The 2018 Poycelan is fuller, the fruit darker and the flavors and aromas, while still definitely Gamay, tend to darker berries and black plum skin.