A Visit to Pierre Martin, 2017

The sun hung high overhead as I nudged my car around the corner, off the main road which runs through Chavignol and into a narrow lane sandwiched between two high walls, both wearing the same oppressive grey render. We rolled down the short but steep slope at a decent pace, quickly emerging at the foot of the incline, the lane opening out onto Les Vallées. This ‘secret’ rue runs behind the cellars that line the main road through the village, and I suspect it is used mostly by the Chavignolais, as they head out into the vines in their enjambeurs and micro-tractors, and by almost nobody else. On one side of the roughly-surfaced road stood buildings bursting with presses, vats and barrels, while on the other there was the imposing slope of Les Monts Damnés, towering above the entire village. It is about as close as you can get to the vines of this famed slope without getting out and ascending on foot. Which is, looking at the incline from the base of the ‘damned mountain’, not a climb I would undertake lightly.

Pierre Martin

I parked up outside some cellars and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t obstruct the passage of the locals as they went about their work (I have found, so far in life, finger-crossing to be a very reliable method). I was here to visit Pierre Martin, a young vigneron who I first encountered at the Salon des Vins de Loire more than a handful of years ago, and whose wines impressed from the outset. He works out of a tiny house on the main road, but having explored beyond the side door, which stood wide open, it was clear that for the moment at least he was elsewhere. Feeling slightly lost, I asked a young lady who was walking by if she knew Pierre, and if she knew where he might be. Her face erupted in a cheery, welcoming smile. “He’s my husband”, she replied (yes, I know this is very reminiscent of how I tracked down Aurélien Revillot). “You will find him in the cellars along the road”, as she pointed to an anonymous door twenty metres away. Inside, in some cellars I had not until this moment associated with the domaine, I found Pierre, his father Yves, and an array of spotless stainless steel vats.

Please log in to continue reading:

Subscribe Here / Lost Password