La Ferme de la Sansonnière, 2013 Update

In the past few months I have thrown the tasting spotlight onto Richard Leroy and Eric Nicolas, two Loire Valley vignerons who are turning out some of the region’s most exciting wines. I now turn my attention to a third domaine which many, including myself, hold in similar regard. Mark Angeli (pictured below), Corsican by birth and originally a stone mason, gave up that life and began making wine in the Anjou region of the Loire Valley in 1990, preceding by several years the arrival of both Richard and Eric.

Mark Angeli

Part of Angeli’s significance is his position as a father-figure for other vignerons with natural, organic or biodynamic leanings. While the mainstream wine press have been happy to obsess over Nicolas Joly, who is always “good for a quote” as they say, few of the publications that have featured him during the past twenty years (publications as diverse as Decanter, Clive Coates’ defunct publication The Vine and even Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine TV video blog) would even give Angeli a passing mention. As a consequence, Angeli’s profile beyond Loire-geek and natural/biodynamic/low-sulphur-geek circles (is there a more catchy ‘catch-all’ I should be using here?) remains low-key. And that’s a shame, because these days I would certainly drink an Angeli wine in preference to one from the Joly stable; while Nicolas and Virginie Joly seem content with their current alcohol-rich and oxidative style, Angeli’s wine possess sometimes haunting purity.

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