Les Jardins Esméraldins, 2015 Update

One thing is for sure, if you are looking for a domaine to challenge preconceptions about how wine should be made, and perhaps about how it should taste, you could probably find it in the Loire Valley. In truth you can probably find domaines that fit the bill in all of the Valley’s main region’s, from the backwaters of the Muscadet vineyard, up through Anjou and Saumur, to France’s most central vineyards in Sancerre, and then on to the vineyards of the Massif Central.

Les Jardins Esméraldins

Last year I discovered what is perhaps leading candidate for this role in Saumur, in the form of Xavier Caillard (pictured above) and Les Jardins Esméraldins. Xavier has no formal training in winemaking, but was bitten by the wine bug when studying for a biology degree in Bordeaux. He moved to the Loire Valley, took up a job working with Mark Angeli of La Ferme de la Sansonnière, and eventually his passion became a reality when he and his partner Muriel set up a tiny domaine in a house near Saumur that belonged to his grandparents.

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