Natural fermentation, aged half in stainless steel, and half in barrel (? new). After a year, the tank and barrel lots are assembled and let to rest for 6 months before bottling. Nicolas says he just wants to just wants to do things simply. Funny how the wine that comes from doing things simply tastes pretty complex. Chenin Blanc from Rablay-sur-Layon is historically a sweet wine, but they prefer to drink dry wines, and wanted to make something they could enjoy every day. This has some of the same pear and honey flavors of the sweet wines from Coteaux-du-Layon, but it's definitely a vin sec, something to drink all the time.
In the past decade or so, the town of Rablay-sur-Layon has become a small hub for dedicated young winemakers in the Loire Valley. There’s a strong community spirit –each year the town organizes a small music festival, and there is a cooperative grocery store in the town center. Geneviève Delatte and Nicolas Bertin started out in the area working for other winemakers, and in 2008, they purchased their own small vineyard, a lieu-dit named L’Echalier. In 2012 they built a small home and winery at the edge of their vines, and found a few other small vineyards in the hills around Rablay, which will be bottled separately from L’Echalier. The winemaking philosophy is to keep things simple; accompany the vines, the grapes, and the wine. Spend a lot of time observing, intervene as little as possible.
A small category representing the wines that either fall outside of appellation lines or don’t subscribe to the law and traditions set forth by the French government within certain classified appellations, “Vin De France” is a catch-all that includes some of the most basic French wines as well as those of superior quality. The category includes large production, value-driven wines. It also includes some that were made with a great deal of creativity, diligence and talent by those who desire to make wine outside of governmental restrictions. These used to be called Vin de Table (table wine) but were renamed to compete with other European countries' wines of similar quality.
Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Somm Secret—Landing in South Africa in the mid 1800s, today the country has double the acreage of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. There is also a new wave of dedicated producers committed to restoring old Chenin vines.