Domaine des Forges, 2018 Update

Sitting on the south side of the Corniche Angevine, between the valleys of the Layon and the Loire just downstream of Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné, Domaine des Forges is located at the heart of one of France’s most renowned sweet wine regions. The waters of the Layon vacillate lazily, slowly meandering their way towards the Loire, and the valley this ancient river has carved out has given vignerons a myriad different slopes and aspects to work with. Those with any sense plant Chenin Blanc in such favoured spots, and when the mists rise from the cool waters below, sparking life into the spores of Botrytis cinerea that linger in the soil, the resulting botrytis infection can concentrate the juices in the grapes to a sweet nectar rich in complex flavours which is nothing short of magical.

Domaine des Forges

Was this what was in the mind of local grocer Pierre Robineau when, back in 1890, he purchased 2 hectares of vines here, I wonder? We will, I think, never know. What we do know is that three generations later those 2 hectares have grown into what we call today Domaine des Forges, named for one of the lieux-dits Pierre acquired. Today Stéphane Branchereau (pictured above) works from compact roadside cellars literally a minute’s walk from another old favourite, Château de la Genaiserie, a domaine also turning out some superb and classically styled sweet wines. Perhaps unsurprisingly Stéphane turns out an exemplary portfolio of sweet wines, but on this most recent encounter I also tasted his latest red releases which proved to be of tip-top quality. I start here, however, with the dry whites.

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