La Porte Saint Jean
France / Loire
At the age of 24, Sylvain Dittière founded Domaine La Porte Saint-Jean in Montreuil-Bellay, south of Saumur, in 2010. Not coming from a family of winemakers, he has accumulated his practical knowledge while working for Gérard Gauby, Thierry Germain, Marc Tempé, Château Yvonne and Clos Rougeard. His wines are also already much talked about, for the simple reason that they are exceptional. Initially, he bought organically grown grapes from a trusted local winemaker until he found the financial backing to buy his first parcel, 5 hectares of prime Saumur terroir on tufa limestone and flint, and more parcels were added, on soils ranging from clay to yellow marl to alluvial sand. The various vineyards are home to vines of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc that are up to 90 years old. Sylvain meticulously tends his plots, which now cover 8 hectares, and does considerable work in the vineyard. During the harvest, he is at the end of the processing chain and realizes even the last fine selection. He benefits from a wonderful cellar, underground vaults carved out of stone in the 16th century, whose constant temperature is perfect for the long ageing period. Up to 24 months in barrique. The result is precise and profound wines, with an incisive minerality that will gain with long aging, but already taste fantastic now.