Domaine Gigou - Jasnieres (biodynamic)

The Jasnières white wines of Le Loir are - like Touraine to the south - based on Chenin Blanc (sometimes known locally as Pineau Blanc de La Loire). The Coteaux du Loir reds are based on a fairly obscure variety called Pineau d'Aunis - which is rather confusingly also known locally as Chenin Noir! Gamay also gets a look in, either as part of the blend of Coteaux du Loir or as simple Vin de France. I'm not sure of its origins (and I have yet to look it up) but Pineau d'Aunis actually has more in common with Pinot Noir than anything else, both aromatically and in flavour/structure - lighter in body, and invariably with a peppery bite, but still with a profile that every Burgundy aficionado would recognise. It certainly won't appeal to everyone, but it certainly puts a smile on my face these days.

The Gigou family have been making wine in the region for over 40 years - Joel and his wife Sylvie created the estate in 1974, with son Ludovic becoming part of the team in 1998 and daughter Dorothy joining a few years ago. Domaine Gigou is without doubt one of the most respected and traditional growers in Le Loir, producing a range of dry and semi-sweet Chenin Blanc white wines and some deliciously quirky, fruity, spicy, sappy wines from both Pinot d'Aunis and Gamay.

They farm a dozen or so hectares of vines, from various vineyards dotted around the region, on a variety of soils/terroirs. They farm organically (indeed, they also employ various biodynamic principles) and use only the natural yeasts on the grapes for fermentation. The wines are aged in vaulted troglodyte caves (typical of the Loire valley) in a mix of stainless steel vats and very old oak and chestnut barrels, and are bottled and released only when they are ready to drink - or at least approachable, for they will age for a good few years, especially the whites.

According to Richard Kelley MW (undoubtedly one of the most respected authorities on the wines of Le Loir and La Loire) "The Gigou’s wines are the epitome of the old, traditional style of Jasnières, and they are justifiably proud of the fact. They are the reference point for this style of wine in the region and ........... are great ambassadors for these two appellations." Enough said!

Domaine Gigou Selection Raisins Nobles 2010 Jasnières
100% Chenin Blanc - late harvested
Semi-sweet (moelleux) - passerillé
£ 22.50