At Great Domaines we are always on the look-out for new, yet to be discovered fine wine producers who also overdeliver on qualitative value with their wines. Our collective ear stays close to the ground in Burgundy as that remains our focus and overarching passion, but our search has our eyes cast over all fine wine regions. Most recently, this endeavour of ours has resulted in Great Domaines establishing new relationships with some of the best and most highly respected names in the Loire Valley.
Why the Loire?
Along with the tradition, history and respect for terroir that is found throughout the Loire, this is a fine wine region that still produces truly exceptional wine at relatively affordable prices. The price of wine from big names from the most famous of regions has risen significantly and inevitably squeezes many consumers out of the buying game. In looking to the Loire, we are able to offer our customers other amazing wine that won’t break the bank.
The Loire Valley in brief
Broadly speaking, the Loire as a region can be split into three: Upper Loire, Middle Loire and Muscadet.
We begin with the Upper Loire not because of geography, but because Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are arguably the most famous appellations in the Loire. The majority of the wines are made exclusively from Sauvignon blanc (Sancerre also grows Pinot noir and Chasselas in Pouilly to produce Pouilly sur Loire).
The central, westbound portion of the Loire is, as students of wine will attest to, rather complicated in geographical terms. Well-known to most South Africans, the relevant grape here is Chenin blanc. Most notably, there is Anjou blanc and then, located within Anjou is the appellation of Savennières. Moving upstream and onto red wines, we then get to Saumur and more specifically, Saumur-Champigny with its reds made exclusively from Cabernet Franc. But, arguably the most famous of the red wine districts is that of Chinon. Within Touraine, and like the great sweet wines of Anjou, Vouvray is the other famous region responsible for Loire Chenin blanc.
We finally turn to the West, at the mouth of Loire Valley. The region of Muscadet, greatly influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, while not a fine white wine heavyweight location in international terms, is rich in tradition and home to some very special vignerons – if you know where to look. The light, food-friendly white wine from here is made exclusively from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine is the most well-known version of Muscadet.
Below we share with you news on which domaines from the Loire have joined GD. We begin on Thursday with the first in a series of offers on wine from each of them. We are very excited about this new chapter at GD and we look forward to as many of you as possible enjoying the wines with us.
Our Loire domaines
Situated within the tiny commune of Bué, just a few kilometers from the town of Sancerre, this Domaine is one of the finest producers in the region. Having taken over the estate in 1998, François and his wife Carine work 10.5 hectares of vines and produce small amounts of wine, always showing the greatest respect to the soil and selection of only the very best fruit come harvest time.
GD’s introduction to Moreux-Corty was through our very own Charlotte Dagueneau who first met Sophie Le Couviour when she spent a harvest at Domaine Didier Dagueneau. Sophie also worked at Ronco del Gnemiz (one of our Italian producers in Friuli), all before she ended up with Julien and Arnaud working as an oenologist at Moreux. The twin brothers, now in their late 30s, took over from their father Patrice over ten years ago, and are dedicated to producing pure, terroir-driven Sauvignon blanc from their 34 hectares of vines in Pouilly-Fumé.
Drinking these wines right now is like watching an incredible band at a festival that the rest of the crowd hasn’t cottoned onto yet. They are crammed at the main stage watching the headlining band. Thibaud Boudignon is widely regarded as one of the most exciting winemakers in international fine wine. Originally from Bordeaux, Boudignon took what he learnt in Gevrey-Chambertin and then most importantly in Savennières to start making his own wine from a tiny 3.5-ha holding in the heart of Anjou and Savennières. Devoted to the health of his vines, Boudignon farms organically and spends most of his time in the vineyard. If there is better dry Chenin blanc being made in the Loire, we have not heard about it.
Philippe and his son Pierre preside over this small 17-hectare domaine (affectionately known as the “Pope of Chinon”) next to Chinon in Cravant-les-Côteaux in the Loire, about 300km south-west of Paris. The site of some of the best Cabernet Franc vineyards in the region, the Alliet family is widely regarded as one of the leading producers in Chinon.
Domaine des Closiers
Located just a few kilometers from Saumur, on the banks of the Loire, this Domaine presides over 15 hectares of vines (95% Cabernet Franc and 5% Chenin blanc) in the heart of the Saumur-Champigny. Anatole de la Brosse, formerly a strategy and management advisor to a large consulting firm and holder of a degree in oenology, decided to pursue his passion for wine fulltime in taking over Domaine des Closiers in 2019. None other than Nady Foucault, former owner of the legendary Clos Rougeard (also part of the GD portfolio since last year), advises on several matters at the Domaine. Closiers has very simply become one of the most exciting producers of Cabernet Franc in the Loire, in a very short space of time.
With a history going back to the 17th century, this Domaine is a story of the union of two Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine families. Today, their wines, made exclusively from Melon de Bourgogne and Folle Blanche, reflect the diversity of the terroirs. It is all about precision and attention to detail here, both in the vineyard and winery. The Domaine is fully certified organic and biodynamic.
Look out for our first offer in the series on Thursday 7 October. If you have any questions in the meantime, please speak to your account manager.