DOMAINE THIBAUD BOUDIGNON
Originally from Bordeaux, Thibaud Boudignon is one of the most exciting new producers in the Loire Valley. Thibaud honed his winemaking craft while working at Philipe Charlopin in Gevrey-Chambertin during the early 2000s. He was shortly thereafter hired by Savennières producer Chateau Soucherie to be their winemaker in the late 2000s where he implemented the organic practice. In 2009, Thibaud began to make wine under his own name from just over 2 hectares of vines in Anjou and approximately 1 hectare of vines in Savennières where he planted several prime parcels including a parcel which borders Baumard’s Clos St Yves vineyard (not far from the famous La Roche-aux-Moines vineyard).
What’s worth mentioning is that Thibaud produces two Anjou Blancs, one of which is called “à Francois(e)” Anjou Blanc – named in honour of his mother Françoise, who passed away when Thibaud was 17, and his grandfather François who helped him get started. As the flagship of the house, “à Francois(e)” Anjou Blanc started from 2009 vintage with a production of 1,000 bottles and gets produced only if conditions are satisfying. 2014 is by far his most satisfied cuvee for à Francois(e). The cuvee’s quantity has dropped in the past few years to make sure its focus stays on quality.
As a former judo champion, Thibaud Boudignon’s strong personality and athletic mindset have influenced his work as he takes care of his vineyards, cellar and vinification with full dedication. He farms small parcels of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc with his hands, heart and inspiration. The soil here is schist with no water reserve in itself, which is a common threat to the Savennières region. But skillful vine growers are capable of maintaining the hydration with careful vineyard management.
As part of a new generation of Loire vignerons, Thibaud has committed himself to crafting honest wines that embody the spirit of the region. Working organically in the vineyards he harvests by hand making successive tries throughout each vineyard ending with low yields that are much lower than the AOC rules. Sharing the same philosophy with the vineyard, the cellar is a replication of a traditional one – an all-natural cellar with excellent conditions and no harm to the planet.
He vinifies with natural yeasts and ages the wines in a mixture of barrels ranging from 300-600 litres. From harvest to fermentation, Thibaud takes only one step at a time. Decisions on cuvees and vinification will only be made upon harvest is done, and after harvest the grapes are kept at 3°C to keep its freshness and precision. The results are intense, concentrated, elegant and age-worthy Chenin Blancs that can already be found on the wine lists of many of the best restaurants in London and Paris. Availability is very limited and the wines sell out quickly each year.
From 1.5 ha of 37 year-old vines from two plots in Anjou - St. Lambert du Lattay and à François(e), Planted at 8000 vines/ha on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite. The vineyards are in conversion from organic to biodynamic. Fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts for 2-3 weeks, followed by maturation in 300l and 750l barrels (30% new) for 15-18 months.
Anjou Blanc “à Francois(e)”
From a single parcel of 37 year-old vines in St-Lambert-du-Lattay, planted at 8000 vines/ha on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite. Native yeast fermented in wood including some 300l cigares, used to build lees complexity. Maturation in these and 700l demi-muids (30% new) for 15–18 months. Named in honour of his mother Françoise, who passed away when Thibaud was 17, and his father François.
Savennières La Vigne Cendrée
This is the smallest parcel of the domaine, 0.5 hectares, in the commune of Savennières. On a small hillside where the environment is calm and one hears only the birds. "La Vigne Cendrée", in spite of its small surface is an exceptional mosaic of terroir : purple schist, granite and clay silt. Because of the clay and the southern exposition, this wine is naturally richer. Half is aged in 226 liter burgundy barrels and half in foudre, with no new wood, for 12 months, this wine is very "Burgundian". The most powerful soil with a higher percentage of clay leads to a mouth which is bigger tasted from foudre, but more refined in barrel. 2,000 bottles produced.
Savennières Le Clos de Frémine
Located behind the wall of "Clos de la Hutte", this parcel of 1.5 hectares is in the commune of La Poissnnière. Exposed to the landscape, the "Clos de Fremine" is a soil of schist sandstone to gritty sandstone. The "Clos de Frémine" is aged in demi muids of 500L and 600L to preserve the finesse of the terroir. This is the most delicate and aromatic expression of Chenin from the domaine. This sandy, schisty, gravelly soil expresses itself more on finesse. 5,000 bottles produced.
Savennières Clos de la Hutte
Situated in the commune of La Pososnniere, the Clos de la Hutte is an ancient religious site of 7 hectares, of which 2.6 are planted with vines. At the heart of this ancient monastery are vines produced from a massal selection of Chenin Blanc coming from the best domaines of the Loire. 5 different varieties of Chenin were planted together so as to best express the intensity and singularity of this special place.
50% vinified in oval demi muid, 25% in 320 liter cigars, and 25% in 500 liter. The ageing last one year in wood and a minimum of 3 months in stainless steel. The Clos de la Hutte seduces with its aromatic finesse and the intense minerality in the mouth. 10,000 bottles produced.
Savennières Les Fougerais
From the lieu-dit of Les Fougerais in the heart of Savennières, near La Roche aux Moines and La Coulée de Serrant; 46 year-old vines planted at 8000 vines/ha on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite. Native yeast fermented in wood including some 300l cigares, used to build lees complexity. Maturation in these and 600l demi-muids (30% new) for 15–18 months.
Rosé de Loire
Substantially Cabernet Franc, with some Grolleau and a little Gamay, from 38 year-old vines, grown on shallow soils of grey schist, rhyolite and sand. Cool-fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts for 2-3 weeks, followed by maturation in tank for 4 to 6 months before bottling. Malolactic conversion is inhibited to produce a fresh, vibrant, yet textural rosé, with good length and intriguing mineral complexity.