Domaine du Clos de l’Èlu
I tried to fasten my jacket a little more securely against the bitter winter wind, but it was no use; the zipper was pulled to the end of its track, and no matter how firmly I tugged I wasn’t going to achieve anything. Except, perhaps, completely detaching it, which was not what I wanted right now; each stinging gust of wind was a pointed reminder of that. This was a long way from my prior mental image of Anjou, a region which I prefer to think of as possessing rolling green hills blanketed with undulating rows of vines, a gentle landscape bathed in warm sunshine, the douceur Angevine of Joachim du Bellay. It was cold and desolate, the only sign that there might once have been life here the swirls of rustling brown leaves, now whipped up into a frenzied vortex by the wind.
It was February, some years ago now, and on a free afternoon prior to the Salon de Vins de Loire I had left the relative sanctity of Angers and struck out to explore the vineyards of Anjou. And so here I found myself, on the Route de Rochefort, which heads in a vaguely northerly direction out of Saint Aubin de Luigné up towards Rochefort sur Loire. Standing next to Château de la Roulerie, which enjoys a prominent roadside position here, I looked along the length of the road, which disappeared around a corner as it headed off towards Saint Aubin de Luigné. Whatever vineyards lay down that road would have to wait for another day, because the light was fading very rapidly, and my afternoon of exploration and tasting was drawing to a close.
As it turns out what lay around that corner was a reborn estate by the name of Domaine du Clos de l’Èlu. It would be another five or six years before I discovered this domaine, met its young proprietor, and tasted its wines for the first time. This was perhaps, judging on the interest and quality offered here, six years too long.