Les Maisons Rouges
The Loir originates north of Tours, more or less midway between Le Mans and Paris. From here it flows, in a slowly meandering fashion, in a westerly direction, before it eventually joins the Sarthe. Its waters will eventually flow through the centre of Angers, as the Maine, before eventually joining the Loire.
Along its banks locals have long planted vines, these days divided between three appellations, of which the two lower down the course of the river – Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loir – are perhaps the most familiar. Here vignerons fashion wonderfully cool and crystalline examples of Chenin Blanc, sometimes known in these parts by its nom de plume, Pineau de la Loire. That seems particularly fitting because the principal red variety planted alongside it on the banks of the Loir is not the usually dominant Cabernet Franc, but Pineau d’Aunis. It’s safe to say this is Pineau country.
The combination of ultra-cool climate, interesting terroirs of clay, flint and Turonian limestone and these two varieties produce some brilliant wines, and the region is home to a number of noteworthy domaines and vignerons. Among them is Les Maisons Rouges, a domaine established as recently as 1994.