Although there are some very grand names working the Savennières appellation, including a number of noble families who have long been associated with these vineyards, in recent years the appellation has also attracted a number of vignerons from outside the appellation. Perhaps recognising that they had on their very doorstep a prestigious terroir for Chenin Blanc which may one day be as well known as Vouvray, and which can certainly give wines of comparable quality, talented vignerons snapped up parcels of vines when they became available, buying or renting as required. Newcomers to the appellation include the likes of Claude Papin of Château Pierre-Bise, Eric Morgat and Jo Pithon now of Pithon-Paillé; these individuals were all new to Savennières, although they were certainly not new to the vine. In some cases, the family’s winemaking history stretches back generations, the very sap of the vine running through their veins.
But the draw of Savennières has extended beyond the vignerons of St Lambert du Lattay, Pierre Bise and Le Breuil, home to some of the aforementioned names. The appellation has also drawn in some completely new to wine. The first name that springs to mind, for me at least, is Damien Laureau, who has managed in the very short time since his first vintage to produce some of the most entrancing wines of the appellation. Following in his footsteps – quite literally, in some ways – is Loïc Mahé.