So many styles of wine reflected in the personalities, characters and philosophies of the Wine Makers; young or old, male or female, French or ‘New World’ they all have one thing in common, a fiery passion for their work.
A Small Selection of Large Personalities…
M. Rene Hugues-Gay
M. Hugues –Gay not only has a passion for wine but also for English cheese, an extremely rare admission for a French man!
His wine estate, Domaine de la Reniere, has been in the family since 1536 (and all the first born sons have been called Rene!)
2003 (467 years later) saw the production of excellent Saumur reds and whites and Coteaux du Saumur sweet wines. The Saumur white 2003, 100% Chenin Blanc, is exceptional, rich and powerful with perfectly balanced alcohol and acidity and an explosion of fruit. No wonder Direct Wines attempted to purchase the lot! Rene, however, held some back for his loyal customer base.
Tom Stevenson’s’ Wine Report 2004’ features Rene’s 2001 Saumur Rouge in the Best Bargain section.
M. Jacky Ripoche
Domaine des Noades
Jacky hails from a vigneron family based in Muscadet but decided to set up, just 3 years ago, in the Saumur appellation for the sheer diversity of grape styles. Single handedly he manages to make reds (oaked and unoaked) whites (sweet and dry) and sparkling wines; as well as looking after his vineyard parcels dotted around the area which total 10ha. Somehow he still manages to find the time to entertain his visitors and is always keen to know what your thoughts are.
He has worked in Australia at Domaine Chandon so speaks a little ‘Aussie’ English. His caves are unique to the area and are certainly worth a visit.
M. Christian et Mme. Susie Giraud
They are so welcoming and so good at entertaining! The Girauds regularly hold events at their winery and in their extensive caves (1.5kms) to celebrate the finish of harvest and to taste the new years wines.
The wine estate has been in the family for centuries, (La Grande Maison d’Arthenay was also part of their estate in the mid 1900’s). Currently Christian harvests approximately 45% of the vineyards visible from behind their winery and the vineyards are organic.
Susie brings a dynamic outlook from Germany and speaks English and French.
M. Didier Hauret-Baleine
An organic enthusiast, Didier inherited his wine estate from his father, the previous mayor of Martigne-Briand. The vineyard is enclosed by ancient stone walls within the old grounds of an almost ruined Chateau and are certified ‘Organic’.
Gerard Depardieu, has a Chateau and wine estate nearby, his wine maker is the current mayor of Martigne-Briand and so Didier claims to know him well!
Didier frequently travels to Farmers Markets in the UK particularly to Portsmouth and recently Upminster to sell his wines, of course tastings are always available at the markets and at his winery.
Mme. Johandie Zietsman-Poupard
Johandie studied Oenology and Agriculture in South Africa and has worked in the UK and Australia but now works at Domaine des Quatre Routes in Aubigne sur Layon with her husband Antoine Poupard. She also works in South Africa during the southern hemisphere harvest, so manages to do 2 harvests per year!
They produce a wide range of wines on an equally wide ranging terroir, some schiste, some calcareous. They take part in the annual Aubigne sur Layon celebrations of the first release of Coteaux du Layon wines which is a wonderfully French event.