Cabernet Franc

Domaine La Taupe

Bertjan, as the name implies, isn't a Frenchman, but was born and raised in the Netherlands. Hence his presence smack bang in the middle of the Loire Valley could seem a bit odd, if it weren't for the fairytale of a certain natural wine movement and one man's love of said wines, coupled with an offer from one of Bertjan's favorite biodynamic winemakers, Bruno Allion, to buy a parcel of vines to go and have fun with.

So he did, and the rest is actually history in the making. 

Pearl-Morissette

François is determined to put Ontario on the world wide wine map as a serious player in the cool climate wine game! Learning his craft at some highly regarded domaines in Burgundy, he came home to Niagara and began making wine the way he believed it should be made. Everything is organic, although not certified, and the wines are allowed to flow with whatever nature throws at us. But that doesn't mean lazy winemaking - the physical processes are keenly monitored, and no flaws or impurities make it past François into the cellar.

La Folle Berthe

David got tired of being a jounalist in Paris, and decided to make a life-changing move to Saumur in Loire to begin making wine. Being more or less empty-handed, he is leasing parcels of vines from recently retired Phillipe Gourdon of Chateau Tour Grise, which means Davis has top-quality, biodynamically grown grapes at his disposal. His first vintage, 2014, was vinified at Domaine Melaric, but he now has his own restored cellar to work in. Right from his first vintage David has made low-intervention, pure wines that are still true to their heritage and terroir.

Jean-Christophe Garnier

Jean-Christophe spent a good decade working as a sommelier at some finer establishments in France. Being from Bretagne originally, his heart was leaning more towards the true and original in life, rather than the polished trappings of higher society - and during his time in restaurants, he fell in love with natural wines and the people behind these beauties. He knew he had to make natural, unmasked wine, true to its terroir.

Si Vintners

Since 2006, Iwo and Sarah have been making wine in Western Australia. In the beginning it was just a few barrels worth, but they now farm and make wine from 12 hectares of land. For them, it's all about natural farming. All about the grapes being able to express the land from whence they came, which is why they have focussed on organic and biodynamic farming from the get go.

Clos de Barbejo

Philippe Combes, Dominique and Alain Giraud, all wine-makers, founded Clos de Barbejo about 10 years ago.
The estate is located on the terraces, clay and calcareous hillside formations, in the Côtes de Thongues appellation. Here the three friends have planted 15 hectares of vineyards with grape varieties like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Grenache. With very limited yields, these wines are literally exploding with flavor and richness.

 

Domaine de Mirebeau

In 1998 Bruno Rochard took over the reigns from his parents at Domaine de Mirebeau situated in Anjou close to the city of Rablay sur Layon. Before Bruno took over, the domaine was farming grapes and making wine conventionally, so Bruno undertook the task of converting the 6 ha to organic production. The vines consist of 50% Chenin Blanc, 27% Cabernet Franc and 33% Grolleau, the latter of which Rochard champions as a perfect grape for red wine production, particularly with soils of clay and pebbles which keep the vines neither too hot nor too cold.

Maisons Brûlées

Maison Brûlées (lit.Burnt Houses) is named so because of a fire that destroyed several houses in the village. It's infamous vineyard and winery have recently passed hands from longtime vigneron Michel Augé to Paul and Corine Gillet who have been making wine there since 2013. Michel was head of one of the first biodynamic coops in France, and he still hosts meetings in Maison Brûlées where the members gather to make their biodynamic preparations together (the estate was officially certified Biodynamic in 1994).

Toby Bainbridge

Toby Bainbridge has had a pretty adventurous life for a Brit. He used to work the corn harvests on his combine harvester travelling through the USA before finding a wife and relocating to the Loire to be a winemaker. After studying at the agricultural school in Anjou, he met and became friends with Didier Chaffardon who he worked with until moving on to Domaine Rene Mosse for several years. During his time with Mosse, he started to buy up small parcels of vines, starting with the Rouge Aux Lèvres, one here and one there.

Olivier Cousin

One cannot, or should not, speak of natural wine without mentioning Olivier Cousin. He is a beacon and a pioneer in the natural wine movement which took root and flourished in the Loire Valley in the 1990's, and he has helped many, many newcomers in the region.