The Wine: 'La Roue Qui Tourne' Chenin Blanc Pet Nat 2017
Marie Thibault 'La Roue Qui Tourne' Chenin Blanc Pet Nat is a white wine from the Loire, France, made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes grown organically in the Petulant Naturel style (Pet Nat, naturally sparkling).
The Producer: Marie Thibault
Marie Thibault’s estate is located on Azay the Rideau appellation, Loire Valley, on a 3.5 hectares plot gathered on one slope. Marie is from the Loire Valley and grew up in the vineyard. Even if she is not from a winemaking family, she has always been in contact with friends and neighbors who are winegrowers (Richoux family, Pascal Robineau). Her dream was always to start her own winery in the Loire Valley.
Marie Thibault started making wine in 2002 at François Chidaine’s estate and since 2004 has been making wine since on her own. She farms organically - certified since 2014. The soils at her estate are made of white clay with silex, vineyards extend for about 2.5 hectares on a south-facing slope. In this area, rainfall is lower than average and the slope is well ventilated and dry.
Vines planted are typical of the area: Chenin, Côt, Gamay, Sauvignon, and Grolleau – this last one is particularly well adapted to this place. This is historical terroir and the first written dealing with old varieties of Grolleau have been discovered in 1810 in Cinq Mars la Pile, 5 km from Marie’s estate.
The Region: Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is a vast region located in western France. It stretches from the hills of Auvergne all the way to the Atlantic coast, cut in half by the Loire River. With over 4 million hectoliters of wine per year, the Loire Valley is one of France’s biggest and most diverse wine producing regions. The Lore Valley’s production ranges from every-day quaffable and unpretentious wine to some of the country’s finest whites and reds.
The Terroir of the Loire Valley
Upper Loire sub-region: continental climate, soils are mostly flint and limestone formations. This is the land of Sauvignon Blanc, with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé being the most famous appellations (AOC).
Touraine sub-region: continental climate, soils can be clay with flint or limestone, and chalk. Chenin Blanc is the main grape varietal for white wines, with Sauvignon Blanc coming in second. Red wines are made mostly from Cabernet Franc.
Anjou sub-region: maritime to continental climate, crumbly and soft soil formation called tuffeau. Anjou is well-known for its Chenin Blanc wines, mostly dry although there are good examples of sweet Chenin Blanc in Coteaux du Layon.
Saumur sub-region: continental to maritime climate, soils are made of tuffeau limestone in this similar to Anjou sub-region. Chenin Blanc is vinified as a sparkling wine with the champenoise method, Cabernet Franc is made into light and peppery wines.
Pays Nantais sub-region: maritime climate, the region stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Soils are rocky with granite formations. Muscadet is the main grape varietal of this area, known for wines that are mineral, crisp, and refreshing.
The White Wines of Loire Valley
White wines represent the biggest share with about 65% of the total production. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne, and Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne are the most popular grape varietals in the region.
The Red Wines of Loire Valley
Loire Valley reds are very distinct in terms of their style. Light and lean, lively and fruity, easy-drinking and food-friendly, they are some of the best everyday wines on the market. Some of the best examples of this style are made from Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.