La Ferme de la Sansonnière, 2015 Update

I never fail to taste through the wines of La Ferme de la Sansonnière at least once per year, and the easiest time to catch proprietor Mark Angeli is in Angers, at the Renaissance tasting, alongside other Anjou vignerons of similar standing such as Nicolas Joly and Richard Leroy. It is usually a fairly rapid tasting; Mark has three white wines with which all fans will be familiar, and it is not uncommonly the case that these are the only three wines he pours. A few words on the vintage are exchanged (sometimes more than a few!), and also on other issues, everything from bush vines and volcanic sulphur dioxide to Angora goats and the forests of Madagascar. And then I’m off, perhaps to see Richard or Nicolas, or perhaps one of Mark’s protégées such as Kenji Hodgson or Laurent Herbel.

La Ferme de la Sansonnière

Not this year though. Mark also poured the latest vintage of his iconic rosé, the 2014 Rosé d’un Jour. Not that unusual, admittedly. And then came the red cuvée, a more rarely sighted beast, the 2013 Les Jeunes Vignes des Gélinettes. Fair enough. But hold on, what’s this? A sixth wine, Les Mirabelles, a sweet wine also from the 2013 vintage. While at first glance this might not seem extraordinary, in fact it is. Mark once made sweet wines (this is Bonnezeaux country after all, and he did train at Château La Tour Blanche and Château Suduiraut in Sauternes) but his move away from intervention including the use of sulphur dioxide saw him increasingly favour drier styles, which need less protection from the wine world’s universal preservative. So to suddenly see a sweet wine reappear in the portfolio here was nothing short of a stunning surprise.

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