Thomas Batardiere - 2020 - Montbenault

Thomas Batardiere - 2020 - Montbenault

Chenin Blanc

Loire, France

Thomas Batardière is a passionate, unabashed winemaker who comes to the whole arena from a different angle than many other natural vignerons in Anjou. Born in 1980 in Angers, he studied anthropology, but in 2008 while working as a filmmaker, Batardière became deeply interested in natural wine. Abandoning his previous career, he worked as a sommelier first but was more drawn to winemaking; not long thereafter he decided to work with Mathieu Vallée at Château Yvonne in Saumur. Articulate and thoughtful, Batardière quickly became Mathieu Vallée’s right-hand man, working closely at the domaine while also taking the two-year viticulture course in Beaune.

After three years of being mentored by Vallée, in 2012 Batardière finally began his own project in Rablay-sur-Layon (Maine-et-Loire, Anjou). He started by purchasing a few hectares of the variety with which he has the most affinity—Chenin Blanc—but as he puts it, “without a cave, without a house, without a tractor—just a pruner and those two hectares of vines.” The winery was built in 2014, along with his house, right next door to Richard Leroy, another fine grower in Rablay-sur-Layon with whom Batardière is close. In 2015, all of the vineyards were certified biodynamic by Demeter, a process that Thomas began implementing right away—he’s a committed advocate for this style of holistic farming and doesn’t shy away from its more esoteric dimensions.

Certified Biodynamic. 100% Chenin Blanc. Montbenault is a parcel of Chenin that Batardière planted in 2014. It’s only is 50 meters from Les Cocus, but the soil is different: deeper and characterized by a volcanic rock called Rhyolite that’s particular to the area. Fermentation in stainless steel vats, then moved to 500L tonneaux for one year of aging. These barrels are used, 2-3 years old (no new barrels). Naturally occurring fermentation, both primary and malolactic. No additions until small amounts (1-2 grams) of SO2 at bottling. (Coeur)