Domaine de la Sénéchalière, 2016 Update

There are few figures more iconic for the ‘natural’ wine movement in the Nantais than Marc Pesnot, of Domaine de la Sénéchalière. Indeed, are there any? Whereas a number of my favourite domaines in this region follow an organic or biodynamic viticultural philosophy, Marc has gone further than that, adopting an approach with less intervention wherever possible.

In my mind, the ‘natural’ approach is a sensible one, but only up to a point. After all, why should a vigneron need to add yeasts when nature has been doing a perfectly good job for so many millennia? And why do we need to hurry the débourbage with the addition of enzymes or even fining agents. Why not simply allow time to do the job, which will do it just as well?

Domaine de la Sénéchalière

These are both good examples of where stepping back from commonplace interventions perhaps too-often carried out without really thinking can be a sage approach to the vinifications. I am not so keen, however, on winding back the additions of sulphur dioxide. Here the issue is more complicated, because countless vignerons tell of the negative impact on the aromatics and vigour of wines when this preservative is added, and so they see its exclusion from the process as a real benefit.

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