Les Frères Couillaud

The history of Les Frères Couillaud begin in 1978, when the Couillaud brothers purchased Château De La Ragotière.

Château De La Ragotière was the home of the noble Loré de la Ragotière family who settled there in the fourteenth century. The château was destroyed during the French Revolution, but the family retained ownership of the estate until the nineteenth century. The numerous vineyards were planted a long time ago and have always produced exceptionally long lived wines. For those people who do not believe that Muscadet can both keep and improve with age, Château De La Ragotière's cellar houses great, old vintages that date back to 1947.

Bernard, Michel and François Couillaud were born into a family of winemakers who had been based in Mouzillon for over 150 years. Their grandfather, Auguste Couillaud, had been a pioneer a hundred years earlier with his 20 hectares of vines. Leon, their father, developed the reputation of the Clos Des Bourguignons, one of the oldest Muscadet vineyards.

In the early 1970s, after travelling through the United States and Mexico, Bernard returned with an ambition to promote his family's Muscadet worldwide. Whilst working with his father he decided to bottle and sell his own wines, a real revolution at that time. His brothers, Michel and François were also passionate about the family's vineyard and the three brothers decided to buy Château De La Ragotière in 1979. The adventure of Couillaud brothers began with major renovations in the winery and in the vineyards to rehabilitate the property.

The sloping and stoney hillside vineyards of Ragotière face south-south east, where vines are methodically pruned, fertilised and harvested and the entire operation is optimised by a computer system linked directly to the brothers’ own state-of-the-art weather station. The vinification is no less strictly supervised, with pneumatic pressing and cold maceration employed to maximise fruit and aromas, followed by temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats. Maturation for about a year on the lees ("sur lie") ensures that the the maximum freshness is retained in the wines.

In 2006, Bernard, Michel and François welcomed the new generation of Couillauds to the business: Bernard's daughter, Amélie, and her husband, Vincent, both of whom are extremely passionate about wine. Amélie, a graduate in business and languages, handles exports whilst Vincent, an agricultural engineer, is in charge of the vineyards.

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