The crucible of the Anjou wine region, the vineyards of the Layon are today undergoing something of a revolution. While many vignerons continue with the sweet wines for which this corner of the Loire Valley is famed (and I give thanks for that), others have chosen to follow a different path. Today the region attracts many young vignerons looking to retrace the steps of trailblazers such as Richard Leroy and Mark Angeli, vignerons who ultimately made their name producing dry rather than sweet wines, wines which showcase the marriage of Chenin Blanc and the Layon Valley’s complex terroirs without the extra complications which botrytis can bring (and not to mention the need for sulphites in sweeter styles).
One notable and relatively recent addition to this vinous landscape is Thomas Batardière. A newcomer to viticulture and winemaking, Thomas installed himself in the village of Rablay-sur-Layon, a Coteaux du Layon hotspot, and he has made a big impact with some of his earliest vintages. Having started out with a few parcels of Chenin Blanc he soon added some red varieties to his holding, and today he turns out a typically Angevin portfolio of wines, including at least two red cuvées, a rosé with a very unusual blend and even, on the odd occasion, a sweet wine. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, it is with his dry Chenin Blancs that he has claimed his place on the Layon’s revolutionary council.
In this profile of Thomas Batardière I look at his story and of course I provide detail on his vineyards, cuvées and winemaking, before I finish up with my tasting notes.