The Loire is the beating heart of the natural wine movement in France, where strong traditional values rub amiable shoulders with teasing iconoclasm.
We are pleased to welcome back some Real Wine Fair stalwarts, namely affable Thierry Germain with his scintillating Saumur Blanc and elegant Saumur-Champignys, equally twinkling Pierre Breton, producer of Bourgueil of all shapes and sizes and Stéphanie Caslot from historic Domaine de la Chevalerie in the same appellation. A raft of newcomers include Domaine St Nicolas from the rarely-seen Atlantic-hugging Fiefs-Vendéen, proto-punk vigneron Brendan Tracey making sans soufre wines in the Vendôme, Marc Pesnot, master of the Melon grape, Ludo Chanson in Montlouis (various brilliant expressions of Chenin, dry and sweet). Add to the blend one Nicolas Reau (elegant Anjou), one Sébastien David (delicious zero-intervention St Nicolas de Bourgueil) and one Hervé Villemade (fruit-driven Cheverny and complex Cour-Cheverny).
And then there is Thierry Puzelat, who plies his trade in the Touraine, making a endless variety of cuvées from Sauvignon, Menu Pineau, Romorantin, Côt, Gamay and Pinot Noir, and who has keenly influenced a whole generation of young winemakers in this most pulsing of wine regions.
Not to be outdone the Languedoc-Roussillon has some old (and not so old) favourites returning – Marjorie Gallet with her winning Côtes du Roussillons from Le Roc des Anges; John Bojanowski, the Carignan king at Clos du Gravillas; the inimitable Samuel Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac; Thierry Navarre, local grape archivist and Saint-Chinian expert; and Clos Fantine’s Carole & Corine Andrieu with their fabulous wild wines from Faugères. The South West growers’ gang is out in force – Château Plaisance’s Marc Penavayre (Fronton); Luc de Conti from Château Tour des Gendres in Bergerac; Pascal Verhaeghe (Château du Cèdre, Cahors); Ludo Bonnelle (Domaine du Pech, Buzet); Laurent Cazottes (artisan distiller in the Tarn) & Jean-Bernard Larrieu (Clos Lapeyre, Jurançon). They are smiling eloquent presences, the best ambassadors for their respective appellations. In addition we are delighted to welcome Jacques Broustet from Château Lamery in Bordeaux, one of the few vignerons to work naturally in that entire classic region.
From the Rhône a sprightly contingent includes Hervé & Béatrice Souhaut from Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet, who will be showing their ethereal Syrahs from St Joseph and the northern Ardèche. Clos du Joncuas Gigondas – from the Chastan family – is a wonderful example of aged Grenache, whilst the aromatically-lifted terroir-driven wines of Domaine Remejeanne and the brilliant-value natural reds from the Vignerons d’Estézargues, demonstrate the sheer versatility of the southern Rhône.
Alsace provides the super triumvirate of Domaine Albert Mann, Pierre Frick & Christian Binner. Handmade wines from biodynamic farming with each respective cuvée possessing a singular identity and always reflecting the nature of the vintage.
A small group of growers from Beaujolais/Burgundy features the irrepressible Julien Guillot from Domaine des Vignes du Maynes, one of the oldest continuous vineyards in France, Jean-Claude Lapalu who makes astonishingly fine Brouilly and Catherine & Jean Montanet with their graceful whites and reds from the cool-climate of Vezelay in northern Burgundy.
Last, but not least, The Real Wine Fair is delighted to present Aurélien Gerbais, who makes various cuvées Champagne in the Côte des Bars, including one from grapes from a special 110 year old vineyard of Pinot Blanc vrai.
NEXT MEET THE GROWERS:
46 Italian Growers Attending 2014 Real Wine Fair!