Domaine Ogereau, 2023 Update

Domaine Ogereau has changed a lot in the time I have known it. Indeed, if there were a Winedoctor award for ‘most transformed domaine’, then this one would surely be in the running.

To a large extent this transformation reflects the fact that, during the course of the past decade, responsibility for the running of the domaine has been handed down from father, Vincent Ogereau, to son, Emmanuel. In addition the vineyard portfolio has been expanded, new plantings established, including the acquisition of a prime plot of land in the lieu-dit of La Martinière on the Butte de Chaume, straddling the boundary between the Quarts de Chaume and Coteaux du Layon appellations. Naturally this meant the portfolio of wines also changed, the number of sweeter cuvées made from their vines in the Bonnes Blanches lieu-dit rationalised, making room for the Quarts de Chaume La Martinière cuvée.

Meanwhile, in Anjou Blanc the range expanded greatly. Ten or fifteen years ago I would taste with Vincent, and he would pour a single cuvée named En Chenin. There was no superior offering, and it seemed the domaine’s focus was – in the traditional Angevin manner – spread fairly evenly between dry white, red (including both Cabernet Franc and a much admired Cabernet Sauvignon cuvée), rosé of course, including a rather good Cabernet d’Anjou, and the sweet wines of the Coteaux du Layon.

In recent years, Anjou Blanc has enjoyed a great revival, with the leading domaines taking a more parcellaire approach, producing wines of tension and linearity, picking earlier and fastidiously selecting out botrytised fruit which tends to soften and blur these characteristics, thereby allowing the wines to better express their origins. Emmanuel is very much a part of this scene, the domaine’s style having shifted much closer to the early-picked and botrytis-free wines of modern times, with cuvées from schist, and from spilite, and even from those vines on the complex soils of the Butte de Chaume. These wines provide a complete contrast to the En Chenin blend of old (which still has a place in the portfolio, as an entry-level blend), and provide further evidence that the Layon is a source of high-quality white wine to match some of France’s grander appellations.

Domaine Ogereau

For this reason a tasting with Emmanuel Ogereau (pictured above, directing pickers on the Butte de Chaume) remains as exciting as one at the many new names popping up across the Anjou region. This report features wines I tasted in early 2023, which means a focus on the 2021 vintage, with a couple of embryonic wines from 2022 thrown in for good measure (which is my way of confessing that I erroneously overlooked them when selecting notes for my Loire 2022 First Taste report).

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