Chenin Blanc

Brendan Stater-West

Brendan is originally from Oregon, but more than a decade ago, he travelled to Paris to be an English teacher. Problem is, once you're in Paris, you can't help but being introduced to wine - and if you have the bug, you're gonna get hooked. Brendan did, and once he tasted the wines from Romain Guiberteau in Saumur, he knew he would eventually have to quit his day job and start working with wine.

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.

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.

Lemaire-Fournier

The now extinct Domaine Lemaire-Fournier used to sit on the outskirts of Vouvray AOC. Our good friend Phillipe Tessier sent us a sample of on of the final wines La Coudraie and we were sold. As of today, the final bottle has been sold and drunk, never to be recreated. We loved you while you were here...

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.

Richard Leroy

In 1996 Richard Leroy was a Bank Director and head of one of the most established premium wine clubs in Paris. One day, through a visit to Anjou with his son, he fell upon some wines that thrilled him from Coteaux du Layon. He was in love. He made friends with Joel Menard, a local winemaker who was in the process of converting his vineyard to organic who convinced Richard to buy two small and cheap parcels of land from the area.

Escoda-Sanahuja

Where to begin with the legend behind Escoda-Sanahuja? Unapologetically big personality, unapologetically awesome wines. Vigneron Joan Ramon began making his magical wines in 1997, caring for his vineyards without chemicals from the start. This evolved over time to Biodynamic practices which have been the standard since 2003. In 2007 Joan quit adding any So2 to his wines at any point, and he is now a passionate opponent of the practice. The land spreads over 10ha near Montblanc in Catalunya, which along with the vines is used for olives, almonds, vegetables and animals.

Domaine St Nicolas

Once a region covered in vines, Domaine St Nicolas is now one of the few remaining winemakers in the lesser known Region of Brem, situated south of the city of Nantes and nestled under the Fief Vendéens appellation. Vigneron Thierry Michon started working biodynamically in 1993 and hasn’t looked back since. He describes his approach to biodynamics as going far beyond the absence of chemicals in the vineyard, rather creating a deeper connection with the soil leading to an amplified expression of terroir.

Château Tour Grise

The family who produced wines under Château Tour Grise had been around a while, allegedly planting and tending vines since the 19th century. In 1998, they achieved biodynamic status, which they believed to be crucial in creating wines that express a true sense of their terroir. Since then, they had been renting off bits of vineyard to new, younger generation winemakers in an attempt to keep the blood flowing in Saumur, and up until recently they made wine from just 8ha, consisting of 6ha of Cabernet Franc, 1ha Chenin blanc, and 1 ha of Pineau d’Aunis.