As the Layon approaches the Loire, the two rivers each carving out their respective valleys, the increasingly narrow point of land that lies between them seems to rise ever taller. Standing on the southern side you have a wonderful view over the valley of the Layon and beyond, including a number of Coteaux du Layon villages. On the north side is perhaps the more impressive view, a grand vista across the course of the Loire and the Louet, one of its more significant distributaries, and the broad flood plain that lies between them.
This is the Corniche Angevine, an ancient crest of land rich in Paleozoic rocks, mainly schist and iron-rich sandstone, peppered with quartz, phthanite and cinerate. It is also rich in coal, so much so that one hundred years ago this crest of land was dotted with mine shafts and engine houses. These have long since disappeared though, and today the Corniche Angevine is best known for the panoramic views it affords across the local landscape, and more than a handful of gites, chambre d’hôtes and restaurants are positioned to take advantage of the region’s natural beauty. And there is also viticulture here, the slope of the land draped with vineyard. Some of these vines belong to Liv Vincendeau.
Liv Vincendeau was born in Germany, in Wiesbaden to be precise, on the banks of the Rhine, is an important viticultural region. At Wiesbaden that the Rhine deviates from its otherwise northwards flow, turning roughly west as it works its way around the Taunus mountains, only heading north again once it has passed the Rüdesheimer Berg. On the south-facing slopes that look down onto this 30-kilometre stretch of the river are some of Germany’s most renowned vineyards, including Schloss Vollrads, Schloss Johannisberg, Jesuitgarten and Marcobrunn, to name just four.