François Chidaine, 2015 Update

A quietly impassioned grower dedicated to his vineyards and committed to the philosophy of biodynamics, François Chidaine decided a few years ago to upgrade his winemaking facilities. In fact, it was more than an upgrade; he built a brand new winery, just across the road from the original Chidaine family domaine on La Grande Rue in Husseau. It was a sign, I thought, that he was no less committed to getting the best from his fruit during the vinifications as he was when it was still hanging out on the vines.

François Chidaine

In a cruel twist of fate, no sooner had François undertaken this very significant investment, Montlouis-sur-Loire (and many other Loire Valley regions) suffered several short vintages of very low yields. François was hit hard first by heavy rain and mildew, then by hail of all things. Yields even lower than his norm (biodynamic vineyards such as his always have lower yields to start with) were the inevitable result, and this led to significant financial insecurity for François. Although not loudly trumpeted, a number of lots listed by Christie’s in a wine auction in March 2015 were sold in aid of François; they had been donated by various members of the Union des Gens du Métier, an association created in 1989 by the late Didier Dagueneau. He brought together a group of like-minded vignerons, those who saw something of value in the humanist and traditional principles extolled by Henri Jayer, who was of course a huge inspiration to a young Didier. The auction included 33 lots from Clos Rougeard in Saumur-Champigny, Marc Roulot in Meursault and many others.

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