Origin: Savennières, Loire, France
Grape: Chenin Blanc
Monique Laroche has been making wines at Domaine Aux Moines for three decades, guided by her own determination to produce a Savennières wine that expresses the typical characteristics of the Chenin grape and that also expresses the terroir of Savennières-Roche-Aux-Moines area. She and Tessa’s father used to own a little vineyard in the same area but they did not produce any wine there until the year 1971, which was the year in which Tessa was born. They bought this second estate Domaine Aux Moines in 1981; Tessa explains ”the domaine Aux Moines is purely a women’s affair, it’s just me and my mother, my father is still alive but is not involved at all”.
Chenin Blanc is a white skinned grape variety from the Loire Valley. It is an incredibly versatile grape that is used to make all kinds of wine: sparkling (Cremant de Loire), dry ( Savennières and Saumur), off-dry (Vouvray and Montlouis),and sweet (Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaum). It has a very distinct flavour profile that combines a searingly bright acidity with apple, honey and mineral flavour concentration. Because of the naturally high acidity it ages very well and gains incredible depth and complexity as it the honeyed notes become more concentrated.
It’s fully exposed to the sunlight, facing South/South-West. Furthermore, this area is sheltered from the cold North winds, and its proximity to Loire River, as well as to the ocean means that the vineyards here have a natural built-in temperature control system. Temperatures in winter are not too cold and neither are they too hot in summer. This area is normally spared suffering destructive frosts in spring.
Vines are planted at exactly 372 metres above the level of the Loire River. South and South-West exposed. The soil here is schist, with added complexities such as Phtanite, riolitre and Spiolite originating from a pre-historic era of volcanic activity. The grapes for this wine are from the youngest vines on the property, bordered by a row of trees named "Le Berceau des Fees", the cradle of the fairies. the vines are cut to the Double Guyot cut, but Tessa Laroche explains that, at their estate, they adjust the cut to the characteristics of each separate vine plant; therefore, if it is a floppy or weak plant, they cut it short.
• Manual harvest, grapes were gently pressed in a pneumatic press.
• The juice was left to undergo a débourbage (cool settling), at low temperature (10°C).
• Wild yeast fermentation in stainless steel vats of 50-Hecto-litres, with temperature control, the juice
fermented for two months.
• No malolactic fermentation.
• Six months of ageing in the same stainless steel vats in which the wine fermented.
• No racking was carried out on this wine.
• No fining, but it was filtered.
• No added sulphur at any point for this particular wine.