Located on the hilltop town of Limony, the Louis Cheze estate is the product of an unique vineyard and its terroir. This area of steep slopes and granitic soils is not ideal for growing grapes. However, a few daring winemakers have to bravely cultivated these steeply inclined plots. The temperate climate and the soil quality is perfect for Syrah, essential for the development of remarkable red wines.
Dating back to 1978, Louis Cheze took control over the family farm at the time the property supported several different crops as well as some grapes, which were sold off to larger producers. Winemaking operations began with this just a hectare of grapes while Louis simultaneously continued working as a wine merchant. Without the infrastructure or the financial resources for bottling, he began selling bulk wine. But over the years this one hectare turned into 30 and in 1983 the implementation of bottling infrastructure was complete. The estate has continued to grow, while garnering prestige for its notable quality within its appellations: Condrieu and Saint-Joseph.
A Curious Winemaker
As Louis Cheze took control over, he has cleared and replanted plots, labor intensive but admirable work that reflects one man’s passion for his region. From the start of his winemaking efforts, he proved he was capable of overcoming challenges. Almost entirely self-taught, he convinced Georges Vernay – nicknamed the “Father of Condrieu” – to help him. Then it was Jean-Luc Colombo – winemaker at Cornas – who next discovered the incredible talents of Louis Cheze. He took him to Bordeaux in 1983, which completely changed the young winemaker. After this trip, Louis Cheze fully understood the potential of his vines and began making changes to his growing process, winemaking efforts, and cellar, buying barrels.
A follower of sustainable viticulture, Louis Cheze advocates respect for the soil and the vines, using chemicals only when absolutely necessary. This singular wine-maker likes reinventing and says that each vintage is a distinctive challenge. To obtain the ideal characteristics of the terroir he spends the time to work with his prouct, adapting the wine from plot to plot. In addition to tending to his fields, his curiosity and enthusiasm for his profession took to him to new locations. Accompanied by Georges Treynard and Laurent and Pascal Marthouret, he joined group of winemakers that participated in the revival of the Roman terroir of Seyssuel. Creators of a range of Seyssuel vineyards, these winemakers combined their expertise and passion to revive these exceptional vineyards. Louis Cheze has proved once again that he is, as he calls it a “rebel of the vines.”