The cultivation of the vine in Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil
probably dates back to Roman times, but the Bourgueil vineyards, including those of Saint-Nicolas, only really started to flourish in the area of the Abbey of Bourgueil, founded in 990. The Breton grape variety made its appearance there in 1152, thanks to the political union of Anjou and Aquitaine. The appellation area closely follows the contours of the commune of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. The vineyards are within the confines of Touraine and Anjou, on the western edge of Bourgueil, on the upper terrace of the right bank of the Loire. Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil
became an AOC by decree of 31 July 1937.
The Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil appellation area covers 1,000 hectares with an annual production of 56,000 hectolitres, of which 2% are rosé. The area consists mainly of a terrace of old alluvial deposits with a deep soil made up of sand and gravel. Above the terraces, a third of the vineyards extend across a tufa chalk hillside (Turonian chalk) covered with sand. The Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil vineyards are widely exposed to the Loire River which becomes extremely wide in this area where the Loire meets the Vienne, allowing the oceanic influence to be clearly felt. The climate is slightly more oceanic than in Bourgueil, with the same wood-covered slopes that protect the well-exposed slopes from the north wind.
The grape varieties authorized for the production of Saint Nicolas Bourgueil wine are the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Up to 10% of the latter is allowed in the blend, but it is very rarely used. The wines derived from the gravelly soil mature quickly, while the limestone wines are at their best after 5 to 10 years' ageing. Some very good wines can be obtained from Domaine Yannick Amirault, Domaine de la Cotelleraie and Château de la Chevalerie.
More informations on the website of the wines of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil