For lovers of real wine, the name Jean-Pierre Robinot and his story are legendary. He fell in love with wine at a young age, moved to Paris, met some of the natural wine movements true pioneers and subsequently opened one of the first bars dedicated to such wines in the city, L’Ange Vin and founded France’s premier journal on the topic, ‘Le Rouge et Blanc’. It was only a matter of time before he could not resist the urge to join the vignerons he so loved and in the early two thousands he left Paris and moved back to the village where he grew up in the very north of the Loire to do just that.
We knew all of that, but nothing could prepare us for the sheer and surreal joy that we felt after visiting Jean-Pierre and his wife Noella at their home near the village of Chahaignes a few weeks ago. Fiercely intelligent, Jean-Pierre has an infectious energy that is impossible to ignore. It is an energy that picks you up and sweeps you away the instant you get to their farm, Le Présidial.
When we arrived a little later in the afternoon than we had hoped, we followed Jean-Pierre down to the first of many of the Robinot’s ancient cellars we were to visit that day, which after nearly seven hours in the car we were happy to discover was the one used for storing their sparkling wines. After tasting through the best part of a dozen wines here, many of which were disgorged on the spot, it was back down the rabbit hole again, to work our way through some wines that were resting in another large cave hidden beneath a makeshift chai.
Bottles were opened seemingly at random, we tasted wines young and old, rarities and magnums. Occasionally Jean-Pierre would grab an unmarked bottle that had been sitting there, open for days, weeks and even months. We were astounded that each had stood the test of time. With each bottle our excitement grew, we have always loved these wines but to taste them here was something else, each wine seeming to take you somewhere different to the last. From there we walked another hundred metres or so to a collection of caves more cavernous, the ones used for elevage. By the time we had tasted a large share of the wines resting in barrel here and sat down for what was to be a wonderful dinner it was 11pm. We had tasted close to fifty different wines and were sure of perhaps only one thing, that we needed to bring these wines to London
Jean-Pierre farms a total of seven hectares of land across two appellations, Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loir. The vines are planted over a mix of red clay, limestone and silex and are tended organically, with the majority of treatments coming in the form of infusions of wild plants such as nettles and ferns. Parcels are harvested by hand individually and fermentations take place in the labyrinth of ancient limestone caves beneath the vines. They go slow and steady and can often last months, even years.
The wines rest sur lie in the barrels which line the dark, damp cellars here for as long as they need. We tasted some that have been waiting over ten years, but there is method in the madness, Jean-Pierre is a master of elevage and by the time each wine is bottled it has attained an energy, poise and vitality that is hard to find elsewhere.
We are so happy to have just received the following wines, if you are interested in finding out more, please send us an email
Jean-Pierre Robinot, Fêtembulles 2014
A wonderful example of a petillant naturel. Jean-Pierre ferments Chenin Blanc in cuve and transfers the juice to bottle when there is around 20 grams of residual sugar per litre remaining. The wine finishes fermentation in the bottle and rests sur lattes before being disgorged and topped up by hand. An extraordinary aperitif. Magnums available.
Jean-Pierre Robinot, L’As des Années Folles 2012
Another petillant, this is an even blend of Chenin and Pinot d’Aunis that spent 20 months sur lattes before disgorgement. A wonderfully pale pink, it has remarkably fine bubbles and a palate of little red fruits.
Jean-Pierre Robinot, Bistrologie 2013
Their base Chenin, this comes from younger parcels of vines and sees a one year elevage in old wood. A little shy upon opening, with air blossoms this into the kind of Chenin we could drink everyday. Wonderfully fresh. Magnums and jeroboams available.
Jean-Pierre Robinot, Charme 2013
Chenin from older vines of around 40 years, spends 24 months in old barrels and offers honeyed depth and floral detail in spades. Wonderful now, we can’t wait to see this bloom over the coming years. Magnums and jeroboams available.
Jean-Pierre Robinot, Lumière des Sens 2013
For us Robinot is the master of Pinot d’Aunis and this is a great example of the kind of haunting aromatics he is able to coax from the grape. Heady with pepper and wild strawberries, it is a beautiful wine. Magnums and jeroboams available.
Jean-Pierre Robinot, Nocturne 2013
This is Pinot d’Aunis from an old parcel that sits adjacent to the one used for the cuvee ‘Camille Robinot’ below. Full of old vines complexity, it shows a gorgeous perfume and a level of a elegance not often found from the grape. Just straight up delicious. Magnums available.
Jean-Pierre Robinot, Camille Robinot 2009
A remarkable wine, from a historic vineyard (the vines here are over 100 years old), in one of the great vintages for Pinot d’Aunis. This is a vital, true vin de garde that shows insane potential over the coming decades. Numbers strictly limited, our allocation was just a few cases.