Pierre et Catherine Breton, Vouvray ‘La Dilettante’


100% Chenin Blanc from 40-year-old vines grown on sandy-silica-clay soils. A superb dry white wine with minuscule intervention and lots of good-nature lovin’.

While Catherine and Pierre work together in the vines and the cellar for all the Breton wines, the Vouvrays are Catherine’s pet project (along with the Bourgueil Dilettante below).  The wine comes from 40-year old Chenin Blanc vines planted in flinty soil.  A very gentle pressing is followed by a short vinification in stainless steel.  There is no malolactic fermentation and the wine is bottled in the spring following the harvest.  Made for immediate consumption, I suggest using glasses though as opposed to straws. Would be a great wine to sip on whilst watching a documentary on soil regeneration, like Kiss The Ground, or read something like The Hidden Life of Trees and really trip out!

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Catherine and Pierre Breton are the real life bon vivants vignerons of lore. They are passionate about what they do, they enjoy sharing it with others, and they entertain with a generosity and charm. That they make great wine with such integrity makes our appreciation of them complete. The Bretons farm eleven hectares of vines just east of Bourgueil in the village of Restigné. They produce Chinon and Bourgueil, as well as a bit of Vouvray, creating honest wines for both early consumption and longer aging. The Bretons first introduced biodynamic practices into their viticulture in 1994, just after receiving their organic certification in 1991. Recently, they started the three-year process of seeking biodynamic certification. In fact, they have become international icons for the natural wine movement in an area where the climate and soil can make organic viticulture difficult.


The Bretons farm vineyards on varied soil types, including gravel, limestone, clay, schist, and yellow tuffeau. Their wines are made primarily from Cabernet Franc (known in the Loire, curiously, as “Breton”) with small quantities of Chenin Blanc for their Vouvray. Though Pierre is the principal cellar master, Catherine makes a series of cuvées under the label “La Dilettante,” or the Dabbler. Together, they divide their wines into three categories: Natural Wines (for easy consumption), Classic Wines (that represent the typicity of the appellations), and Wines of Terroir (vinified individually by parcel). The Wines of Terroir from Chinon and Bourgueil are destined for long life in your cellar. 1964 made for unforgettable drinking in 2008! Each of the Breton cuvées is unique, with differences in soil, vinification, and élévage all playing a role while still demonstrating a familial resemblance. Catherine and Pierre are two of the hardest working people we know of in the wine business. This explains why their wines, despite the fact that they are totally natural and unadulterated, are so incredibly consistent; consistently delicious. Their achievements and contributions to the natural and organic wine movement globally cannot be underestimated.