Coteaux du Loir, LOIRE

Renaud Guettier was the first grower we have worked with that has no link whatsoever with Italy, the truth being that when we first tasted these wines they were simply so good that we had to bring them to London.

Renaud is based in the village of Bueil en Touraine, in the Coteaux du Loir, a forgotten winemaking region that happens to be the northernmost place you can make wine in France. It is an area is blessed with numerous hidden old parcels of Chenin Blanc and Pinot d’Aunis. Renaud trained as an agronomist specialising in plant physiology and in 2004 purchased half a hectare of old vines from his stepfather. Over the past decade he has added tiny parcels of old vines bit by bit and now farms over 25 plots across around 5 hectares, with an average vine age of 80 years.

The terroir is combination of clay, flint and chalky limestone and farming is both meticulous and admirable, done organically and by hand, without the use of chemicals or pesticides.Grapes are hand picked and brought to his cave in a former quarry dug into the limestone cliffs where they are wild fermented, basket pressed and fed by gravity to the cellar below. There they see a long elevage in old wooden casks, something Renaud considers vital when producing wines as he does, without filtration or the addition of sulphites.

These diverse plots of old, healthy vines and Renaud’s attention to detail to both farming and elevage yields chiseled, powerful wines of uncommon balance, elegance and detail.