Certified biodynamic. 100% Chenin Blanc. Multiple parcels on the Chaume hill, facing south. Ronceray is the name created by Chaume growers for the dry whites created in the Chaume and Quarts de Chaume appellations. 45+ year old vines. Sandstone, and spilite over schist bedrock. Indigenous yeast. Partial malo. Fermented and aged in 70% stainless steel, 30% foudre (25hl) for 12 months.
Vanessa Cherruau is a steward of one of the Loire’s great terroirs – Chaume. After finishing wine school in Angers, she befriended the Rochais family on the Chaume hill, who owned Chateau de Plaisance (more a farmhouse than Chateau) and its 25 ha of vines growing on the schist bedrock of the appellation. With plans to sell the historic estate to the local cooperative, Vanessa convinced the family to sell to her instead, allowing her to continue the fine legacy they left, while forging a new path for Loire greatness. Luckily for Vanessa, she inherited some of the most well-cared for vines on the hill, as Plaisance has been certified organic since 1998 and certified biodynamic since 2004. She of course has continued the biodynamic viticulture started by her predecessors, knowing that taking care of the natural environment of the vines is of utmost importance. Since her first vintage in 2019, she has helped raise the image of dry Chenin made on the Chaume hill to where it is now one of the most interesting terroirs in the Loire.
Only 10km south of Savennieres, Chaume is a sweet-wine only appellation (Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru and Coteaux de Layon 1er Cru Chaume), and so Vanessa and the other producers of dry Chenin on the hill, cannot legally put Chaume on their labels. This hasn’t deterred Vanessa from continuing to make world-class dry wines, joining other growers on the hill to create their own name for dry Chenin made from vines on the Chaume hill – Ronceray. This name has been adopted by growers to help promote the dry wines of Chaume, with its origin coming from the name of a 17th century monastery that made dry wines on the Chaume hill. Vanessa is unquestionably of the leaders of this qualitative surge in the area, with whites and reds of of gorgeous purity and soaring minerality. These are wines that clearly announce the rise of a new star of the Loire.
Known for its delightful whites and sparkling Pétillant and Mousseux, made predominantly of Chenin blanc, Anjou has a temperate and dry maritime climate. The region's limited temperature variations are admiringly referred to locally as the “douceur angevine,” or “Anjou sweetness.” Fruit forward rosé and red wines from Cabernet Franc and Gamay merit Anjou its success within the Loire subregions.
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.