The Anjou Brissac appellation (until 2020 known as Anjou-Villages Brissac; more on that later in this guide) is one of many appellations that emerged from the broader Anjou vineyard during the course of the 20th century. First came the rosés, Rosé d’Anjou in 1957 followed by Cabernet d’Anjou in 1964, both styles having evolved from rouget, the light red wine made from a hotchpotch of varieties which slaked the thirst of the region’s vineyard workers and café-goers. Some vignerons, however, moved in the opposite direction, and instead of lightening the rouget to make rosé they chose to pick later and macerate for longer, and with a little added malolactic magic and barrel maturation they were soon making interesting red wines. The style was elevated above the generic Anjou appellation with the creation of Anjou-Villages in 1991.
These days Anjou as a region is staking a claim as a source of top-quality dry whites made with Chenin Blanc, a development which feels long overdue; it seems to have taken too long to recognise that the combination of Chenin Blanc, vinified dry, with the region’s fabulous schist-rich soils, is Anjou’s modern-day raison d’être. But in the story of Anjou we cannot jump straight from the creation of the Anjou-Villages appellation to the birth of the 21st-century #drinkchenin fan club; there is another appellation born after Anjou-Villages which first deserves our attention. And that appellation is, of course, Anjou Brissac.