Château de la Roche en Loire
Château de La Roche en Loire is a manor house dating back to the 16th century, located in the small appellation of Touraine Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire valley, in France. A 35-hectare estate - of which six of vines - bordered on one side by the forest of Chinon, Château de La Roche en Loire produces magnificent white wines made from the Chenin Blanc variety and delicious red and rosé wines made from the Cabernet Franc, Côt and Grolleau varieties. Vines have always been grown there and La Roche en Loire used to supply the royal court in Versailles. Louis-Jean Sylvos - who ran his own company selling street furniture - acquired the domain in 2001. Self-taught, Louis-Jean also cultivates organic cereals. Château de La Roche en Loire has been certified organic and biodynamic since 2002 and is a member of the Renaissance des Appellations association since 2012.
At 30 years old, Florent Cosme is an up-and-coming star of the Vouvray appellation in the Loire Valley. He started in 2011 with 2.5 hectares of vines, converting to organic viticulture in 2012 and becoming officially certified in 2015. During the week he works full time for renowned winemaker Vincent Carême and tends his own vines during the weekend. Florent's brother, Mathieu, is also a winemaker in the Vouvray appellation. The two brothers share the viticultural material and both of them represent the fifth generation of winemakers in the Cosme family. last year Florent bought another hectare of vine. His goal is to reach a total of eight hectares to be able to work solely for himself. He produces small quantities of both dry and medium-dry styles of Chenin Blanc. Pure and rare, they are precious little gems.
A family domain, Domaine Sauvète was born in 1905 when Jerôme's great-grand father, Georges Sauvète, planted his first vines. With his wife Dominique, Jerôme took over from his father Michel in 1980 and Mathilde, their daughter, joined in 2013. Located in Touraine, in the Loire Valley, the domain extends over 17 hectares. Half of it is dedicated to the growing of white varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. The other half is planted with red varieties, namely Gamay, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Pineau d'Aunis. Certified organic, Domaine Sauvète produces red, white and rosé wines. Versatile and delicious they all offer truly excellent value for money.
Domaine du Trapadis
Domaine du Trapadis is located in the charming little village of Rasteau in southern Rhône, in France. Helen Durand took over the family domain from his parents in 1996. Trapadis comprises 35 hectares of vines, of which 25 hectares are in the Rasteau appellation, six hectares in the Côtes du Rhône Villages Roaix appellation, and four hectares in the Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne appellation. Helen grows Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault and Syrah. He started to work organically and eventually extended his practices, after extensive trials, to biodynamics. Helen has a ''Burgundian approach'' to winemaking. He likes to vinify individual parcels separately rather than blending indiscriminately as is often the case in southern Rhône. He makes pure and elegant wines that are absolute bargains.
Domaine des Mathouans
Domaine des Mathouans is located in Latour-de-France in the Roussillon region, south of France. Belgian, Aline Hock - who runs the domain with her husband - used to be a lawyer for a bank in Luxembourg. Passionate about wine, she discovered Roussillon during an internship she had to do to complete a degree in oenology. Seduced by the region, she decided to give up banking for winemaking and in 2008 she acquired five hectares of vines. 2009 was her first vintage. The domain now comprises ten hectares of vines, all grown biodynamically. The various soils are ploughed with a horse and Aline is contemplating planting olive trees and fruit trees to diversify the ecosystem and add sources of revenue. She grows Syrah, Grenache Gris, Carignan Noir, Macabeu, Grenache Noir, Lledoner Pelut and Muscat Blanc á Petits Grains. No additives are added to the wines except for minimal doses of sulphites.
Imanol lives in the Basque Country in France, near the Spanish border. Originally trained as an engineer, Imanol has been working in the wine world since 2007, advising numerous winemakers across France. Fascinated by the wines from the Loire, Imanol aims to express the Pyrennean terroir. He has only very recently bought his first vineyard in the Irouleguy appellation. For his first four vintages, starting in 2012, Imanol bought his grapes to local high-quality growers. He then made and aged his wines in the cellar of a vigneron in Madiran. Imanol says he wants to make 'confidential and atypical wines'. Both his whites and reds are superb. This is truly 'haute couture' winemaking.
Vignobles Denois is located in Roquetaillade, in the Languedoc region of France. After studying winemaking in Burgundy and business in Champagne, Jean-Louis Denois - the sixth generation of a Champagne family - moved to South Africa to help make the first 'Cap Classique' sparkling wines. His journey eventually brought him back to France, to the Aude Valley, in the Pyrenees foothills, on the Languedoc's southwestern fringes. This cool climate zone was exactly what Jean-Louis was looking for to grow his first Pinot Noir vines, bought in 1988, followed by 15 hectares of Chardonnay. Jean-Louis works organically and biodynamically. His no added-sulfite sparkling, fresh and elegant, is a very fine alternative to Champagne.