Domaine des Forges Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume is a sweet white wine from the Loire. The Chaume 1er Cru is considered by most to be the best appellation for producing the moelleux (sweet) wines of the Coteaux du Layon. Domaine des Forges can trace its origins back to 1890 when grocer and draper Pierre Robineau purchased 2 hectares of vines called “Le Clos des Forges”. The vineyards have been added to over the years but the business, Vignoble Branchereau, remains family owned after 5 generations. The vineyards now extend over 47 hectares. Claude Branchereau is the current patriarche of the family and it was Claude who first won recognition for the Chaume 1er Cru des Coteaux du Layon appellation in 2007. The Chaume AOC is a tiny 78 hectares total within Coteaux du Layon. The soils of Chaume are sandstone shale, quartz and puddingstone on a carboniferous subsoil and the vineyards are located on steep slope which help to gain full exposure to the sun and produce more concentrated wines. There is a lot of work done in the vineyards to improve the harvest including leaf removal to allow circulation of air and more sunlight to hit the grapes. The grapes are late harvest harvested with several successive sweeps (known as “Tris”) through the vineyard for the best selection of berries. The grapes from each sweep are vinified separately, they are gently pressed, fermented and then aged in a combination of tanks and barrels. Yields for Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume are limited to no more than 25 hectolitres per hectare.