Domaine de la Sénéchalière
The Loire is home to any number of fastidious, single-minded vignerons who – for one reason or another – find themselves working outside the appellation system. In truth, the greatest concentration of these vignerons are to be found in Anjou, led by the likes of Richard Leroy and Mark Angeli, although there are more than one or two individuals up in the Loire and Cher Valleys who find themselves labelling their wines as Vin de France rather than Coteaux de Loir, Touraine, Cheverny or similar.
The Nantais, however, is not so richly imbued with such characters. Although there are many here making wines of extraordinarily high quality, most tend to work within the appellation system, no matter how infuriating its idiosyncrasies may be to these dedicated men and women. There must, for example, be no greater appellation farce than being forbidden from labelling a Muscadet as sur lie because, according to appellation rules, the wine has spent too long sur lie.
One man who has left the appellation system behind in a manner akin to his Angevin peers, however, is Marc Pesnot (pictured above) of Domaine de la Sénéchalière. I have long been an admirer of Marc Pesnot’s wines; although they are difficult to obtain in the UK, there are merchants who carry stock in France who are willing to ship his wines across the Channel. This year, however, on my most recent trip to the Loire, I was fortunate enough to be able to meet up with Marc, and taste my way through some of his most recent releases.