Gazeteer of France’s great oak woods – Russy, at the gates of Sologne15 October 2019
Published in October 2018, the book The oak in majesty, from forest to wine highlights the concept of forest terroir: a specific soil, aspect, and rainfall, as well as a particular exposure to sunlight, to which should be added the species or variety of tree, the density of plantation, as well as average age, all of which will influence the grain and quality of the wood. The value of a mature high forest will thus depend on both the terroir and in the way in which it has been “led,” as French winegrowers say, or managed, in the words of the forester.
The book, fully illustrated with photographies, compile, through a gazeteer with a lot of details about geography, mesoclimate and history, a list of twenty-six beautiful oak wood forests, as the forest of Russy.
South of Blois, on the left bank of the Loire, the forest of Russy resembles a green butterfly pinned between Cosson and Beuvron, two minor watercourses of the Loire basin. The châteaux of Chambord and Cheverny are not far off, just a short trot for the roe and red deer that pass from one wood to the other, their sole concern being to remain under cover. If these animals were born with a silver spoon in their mouths, then so were the oaks, which cover 99% of the 3,250 hectares (8,030 acres) of this forest.
Once the property of the counts of Blois before being absorbed into the royal domain in 1498, the forest was conscripted into public ownership in 1791 following the Revolution. Part of the massif of Blésois, like that of Blois (2,750 ha; 6,800 acres) and Boulogne (4,075 ha; 10,070 acres), and rising to between 68 and 109 meters, it extends over sloping plateaux which ensure the good drainage essential to the growth of great oaks. A wildlife refuge area was created on one slope in 1998, primarily to protect the very rich flora, as well as rare species such as the gray-headed woodpecker or the spotted flycatcher.
Find out the entire gazeteer of France’s great oak woods, and much more, in The oak in majesty, from forest to wine written by Sylvain Charlois and Thierry Dussard.