Frankreich / Loire
In 2011, Thomas Batardière settled in Rablay-sur-Layon after being lucky enough to find some old Chenin vines there, which were joined by others the following year. He also planted vines himself, also Chenin and a little Grolleau. In 2014 he found a very old parcel of Cabernet Franc, in the heart of the village of Rablay, to now total 4 hectares, all Demeter certified since 2015. One of his parcels is between Montbenault and Les Aussigouins, arguably the two best sites in the area. The site is called Le Clos des Cocus, after which he names one of his cuvées. It's a great terroir, just under a hectare, planted in the late 50s, on a "typically Anjou" soil, marked by shale of various origins and periods. Very rich and complex and indicative of one of the great winemaking terroirs.
Thomas works mainly with stainless steel tanks as he is not a fan of wood ageing and its aromatic contribution to the wines. He deals a lot with yeasts and racking, used wisely, at the right times, he allows his wines to come into contact with oxygen to a greater or lesser extent to give them depth and at the same time maintain tension, when ageing in a reductive environment. An emphatic reductive ageing and playing with oxidation is an art he has mastered. Thomas confessed to us that vinification of red wines is not one of his greatest passions :) But he works on them with the aim of achieving a result similar to that of his Chenins. An early harvest and vinification at low temperature, grants a fresher aromatic profile that stays close to the grape. He tries to handle the juices as little as possible with extraction, maceration, under-pushing (pigeage) or over-pumping (remontage).
Thomas' wines are intriguing and for anyone passionate about Chenin, they are a must try.