Meeting Jean-Marc Biet and his wines for the first time was a reminder – not that I really needed one, to be honest – that I will probably never fully, truly and wholly understand all that the Loire Valley has to offer. Of course I know all the famous appellations and all the cult domaines, from Savennières to Sancerre. Who doesn’t? It is an easy shortlist to draw up, the domaines already well described, the wines highly sought after, even if to my own mind I think the style and quality runs from the sublime to the shameful.
Look beyond these famous names, beyond even the quirky appellations which pique our interest such as Cheverny and Saint-Pourçain, and there are still many uncovered gems. Unexciting ‘generic’ appellations such as Muscadet, Anjou and Touraine hold many surprises in store, wines from long-lost riverside terroirs of schist not thoroughly exploited since phylloxera, or from forgotten limestone cuestas surrounded by uninspiring fields of alluvial sand and gravel. Some vignerons exploiting these terroirs we know well, while others have names that are less familiar. One working in the Touraine appellation, and who I believe deserves wider recognition, is Jean-Marc Biet (pictured below).