Evelyne de Pontbriand took over her venerable family estate—known historically as the Château des Vaults but now as Domaine du Closel—in 2001 in a career change from teaching French literature. Her mother Michèle de Jessey was a notable figure in the Chenin-only appellation of Savennières, having inherited the estate from her aunt, Madame du Closel; she was devoted to all things Savennières, and even became its president, the first woman to run an AOC.
Evelyne inherited her mother’s passion and technical acuity and now meticulously manages the estate, which comprises 13 hectares of Chenin Blanc (as well as 3 of Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon). The estate was certified organic in 2006 and received full biodynamic certification as of the 2015 vintage. Savennières is a famously unique, intense, savory and structured expression of Chenin Blanc, thanks to the preponderance of schist, a form of slate, in its soils; Evelyne has learned from her 16 years on the job that meticulous, minimal farming and winemaking is the most effective way to convey its essence.
100% Chenin Blanc. La Jalousie is a blend of several parcels of younger (20-year-old) vines planted in schistous soils on gentle hills. Like the rest of the Closel vines, they are biodynamically farmed, low-yielding and harvested by hand. They are the first of the estate to be harvested, when the grapes are pale yellow, crisp and totally healthy. The bunches are direct-pressed, then fermented with native yeasts and a small amount of sulfur in tank. The wine is tank-aged on its lees, without any exposure to air, for 9 months before bottling. Normally, Jalousie doesn't go through malo but in the warm 2018 vintage, it did so. Jalousie is intended to be a modern rendition of Savennières: approachable and fresh in its youth, as a result of not being over-ripened, botrytis-influenced or long- or wood-aged.