Domaine Des Ouches is located in the village of Ingrande, anciently called Igoranda, on the right bank of the Loire near the town of Bourgueil. The appellation Bourgueil, AOC since 1937, authorizes red and rosé wines from at least 90% Cabernet Franc (producers are able to use up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon), though by far the most important part of the AOCs production is red wine. The wines are famously age-worthy, and offer classic cool-climate cab-franc aromatics and structure.
The domaine is owned by famille Gambier for eight generations. We love visiting in January as there is always a warm and blazing fire in the large living room fireplace, with plenty of cheese, roast meat, and of course, red Bourgueil wine. The patriarch is father Paul, but sons Denis and Thomas are the worthy heirs to this noble estate. Always curious, Denis worked a year in California at Joseph Phelps in 1999 and expanded his horizons significantly. That said, Loire-valley winegrowing is their livelihood, and talking with the father and brothers is a serious lesson in history, viticulture, and enology. Truly the wines are best experienced like fine Burgogne, drunk from balloons for the best expression of the beautiful aromatics they offer.
Grapes are picked by hand, an extremely selective process. When asked whether Chevre (the local goat cheese) works better with red or white wine, Denis replied “when you’re in Bourgueil, it’s better with red wines. When in Sancerre, it’s better with white!”
The domaine began to vinify separate parcels in 2002 – a great vintage in the Loire – and now produce several cuvées, including the regular cuvée Igoranda, plus single vineyard expressions including Les Clos Boireaux and Coteau des Ouches (des Ouches, by the way, is an archaic French term signifying “the orchards”. They also produce a super-cuvée, their Grande Reserve, produced in the best vintages and incorporating a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winery: Domaine des Ouches
Region: Loire (Loire Valley)
Locale: Ingrande, Bourgueil, France
Farming: Uses organic practices