Buvance went on the roads, to meet those who make.
At the end of October, it was to the Layon! A small enclave south of Angers, land of living wine pioneers such as Eric Callcut, Patrick Desplats and Babass, who started together with Les Griottes, or Richard Leroy to name but a few.
Today, it is a whole new generation that is settling in, and we are conquered by the energy that emanates from their relationships: a beautiful collective spirit and a lot of mutual aid. We remember the Layon as a land of friends!
As far as the landscape is concerned, we can see hills, basaltic faults inherited from extinct volcanoes and stones, lots of stones: schist especially. It is not surprising that this incredible terroir seduces lovers of great white wines!
Formerly known for its sweet wines a bit out of fashion or its cheap rosés like the Cabernet d'Anjou, many parcels of the Layon have been converted to make dry white wine. To our delight, it is the chenin - known as "chnin" - that is the local star grape, a grape that gives vibrant juices, full of tension and minerality.
These few days on the road were a little bubble of happiness punctuated by meetings and exchanges, each one warmer than the next.
We started by visiting Robin Carettea great friend of the Mosse brothers, who also had a foot in La Grange aux Belles for a while. It is in the heart of the magnificent terroir of Bonnezeau that he acquired 5 hectares. His first vintage 2021 is a jewel of freshness and generosity. Robin, for sure, we will follow him and visit him again.
Our journey then led us to spend a delicious moment with Babass, his wife Agnès and Mimi, one of the most faithful grape pickers. A very drunken evening where we had the chance to taste again their vintage La Tête à Totoborn from a non-existent 2021 harvest, because all the vines were ravaged by mildew. This wine was born from the grolleau and cabernet franc grapes recovered from friends: a thirst-quenching wine of rare elegance.
The next day, it was at Simon Rouillard that we went to visit, also recently installed. In the cellar, we tasted his 2022 but also his 2021 still in maturation. We retain a lot of precision and know-how, new products that we can't wait to find bottled. And since the Layon is a land of friends, it is in his company that we continued the road and went to discover the new cellar of his friend Simon Batardière, located under his house. A nice tasting of the cellar and of the 2022 vintage which looks great!
This was followed by a great moment of emotion at Tomy VeronWe had the honor to attend the tasting of his very first vintage (2022), in the presence of his peers and mentors: François Maudet to whom he succeeded, but also Fabrice Chaillou, better known by his nickname of Tintin, Patrick Desplats or Jean-Baptiste Peltier. A moment of great humility and the unanimous validation of Tomy's talent. To be continued and discovered! The evening ended at Tim's at the unavoidable Canon Canon.
The next day, we went to meet Maïté and Warren, from Domaine Les Errances. Their desire? To offer low prices, wines accessible to the greatest number of people, but obviously in a natural wine making process. For this, they have taken up the challenge of a larger production. To find a chenin at less than 12 euros: they did it and it is frankly successful, Topette is one of the vintages that we remember from our stay.
The day continued with Christophe Vincentwho has another activity in addition to that of winemaker. By choice, out of a desire for financial autonomy but also to diversify his activity. Like his companions Maïté and Warren, he wishes to democratize his wines and also confides to us that he refuses to export any wine, a rare step to be specified. We spent a very good time with Christophe and his partner Anne: tasting his cellar and touring his brand new vineyards.
To close the stay, it is to the meeting of Clément Poirel that we went to meet. This time a little more involved, we worked with him on the blending of his 2020 chenin, aged in 20 barrels. The reds, the macerations and the 2021 chenin were also tasted and spoiler alert: it's going to be incredible! The day ended with a visit to the Relais du Layon in Chemillé-en-Anjou, a newly taken over place, which serves of course natural wine but also pizzas. We met Julien Rousselot as well as Margot Rousseau-Petit and Natalia Santo, also young winemakers. We drank a toast, an end of day that reflected the whole of this stay: sincere exchanges, conviviality and good humor.
Our addresses :
- Canon Canon : Rochefort-Sur-Loire, discover here
- The Auberge du Layon : Rablay-sur-Layon, discover here
- Taste Layon : Rablay-sur-Layon, discover here
Photo credit: @clubdesandouilles