Anjou Noir, a wine lover’s dreamland in the heart of the Loire Valley

Let’s take a deep dive into this exquisite region and its flagship estates.

Anjour Noir has been on the up in recent years and is now a genuinely outstanding winegrowing territory, home to a host of highly talented winemakers. Let’s explore this exquisite region and its flagship estates.

iDealwine is thrilled to introduce you to some of this region’s finest estates, all of which have much in common such as youthful enthusiasm, a passion for the land and its grape varieties, and the prospect of a promising future. La Terre de l’Élu, Château de Plaisance, Terra Vita Vinum and Ogereau are the work of talented young winemakers who are adamant that Anjou Noir still has a long way to go. Let’s head for the Loire Valley and talk about Chenin, plot-by-plot work and… success! 

Anjou Noir: the new black gold?

Let’s set the scene and locate this promise land on the map… Anjou Noir (literally ‘Black Anjou’) owes its name to its dark-coloured soil of schist, gneiss and granite, as opposed to the chalky soil of Anjou Blanc (‘White Anjou’). This vineyard lies to the west, but mostly to the south of Angers, almost exclusively on the left bank of the Loire and includes the Anjou appellation, Coteaux du Layon, Quarts de Chaumes, etc.  This area produces an extensive range of incomparable wines including red, white, dry, sweet and syrupy… Let’s take a closer look at some of the appellations in this beautiful wine landscape, to understand their unique characteristics.

The Anjou appellation pretty much covers the entire Anjou noir area. For whites, dry white wines are crafted from the versatile and revered Chenin grape, which produces wines of the highest quality. For reds, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are the grapes of choice, complemented by local varieties such as Grolleau and Pineau d’Aunis. These wines are very lively and brimming with crisp fruit.

If you turn your attention to the right bank of the Loire, you’ll find the very famous Savennières appellation – but you knew that already, didn’t you? This area is split into two appellations, Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines and Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant, a monopoly of Coulée de Serrant, which we are also lucky enough to distribute. Some exceptional dry wines are produced here, offering outstanding ageing potential. These are powerful, expressive wines with a pronounced mineral character (due to the schists).

Now we head south of Angers, where a number of appellations within the generic Anjou appellation also stand out. Naturally, these include sweet and syrupy wines from Coteaux de l’Aubance, Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. Nowadays, a number of winegrowers are increasingly daring in their efforts to produce very high quality and well-balanced wines. And of course, the estates we are about to introduce you to are among them!

Anjou Noir, a blend of past heritage and land of the future

The reputation of the Anjou Noir region goes back many centuries. As early as the Middle Ages, the town of Angers was famous for its wines, which were easily transported down the Loire. Anjou, but also Sancerre, Touraine and Orléanais, were compared to Burgundy wines and held pride of place at royal tables in France and England. These days, Anjou grape varieties – especially Chenin – are increasingly popular with French wine lovers. However, they are not as popular with international customers (with the exception of South Africa, where Chenin is also produced) as Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. And yet these wines, designed for ageing and expressing a wide variety of styles, have tremendous potential.

This is precisely why this region has been attracting so much attention in recent years, with a number of young winemakers taking a keen interest in this highly promising land. These men and women are firmly convinced that Anjou Noir could become one of the most talked-about regions in the years to come. To this end, they are committed to working as meticulously as possible in the vineyard and the winery – respecting the plants, the soil and biodiversity, allowing the wine to develop with minimal intervention, adding as few inputs as possible, and bringing out the best in each parcel by cultivating it individually. Charlotte and Thomas Carsin from Terre de l’Elu, Vanessa Cherruau from Château de Plaisance, Luc Briand and Bénédicte Petit from Terra Vita Vinum and Emmanuel Ogereau from Domaine Ogereau are among these winemakers.

La Terre de l’Élu, destiny and terroir

Prior to 2008, Thomas was ‘just’ a Breton with a degree in marine biology, a wine consultant in Champagne and Provence, and Charlotte was ‘just’ a communication and management manager at wine estates. So what happened next? Could it be fate? Destiny? Good question – the young couple embarked on a daring project and acquired the Clos de l’Élu estate (now Terre de l’Élu) in Anjou Noir. Why? Their genuine passion for this region and for Chenin. How? Rigorous, exacting work to produce premium wines.

Today, after just over 12 years, La Terre de l’Élu cultivates some 20 hectares of certified organic white vines alongside red varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Grolleau and Pineau d’Aunis. The entire team is committed to producing outstanding parcel-based wines. Everyone practices meticulous disbudding, adapted pruning techniques depending on the grape variety and parcel, soil tillage, manual harvesting with small crates, sorting, gravity feeding in the winery, fermentations triggered by native yeasts, whole bunches for the reds, and maturing in vats, barrels or amphorae depending on the cuvée. We are thrilled to count this impressive property among our partner estates, offering a selection of delicious, fine, deep wines that showcase Anjou Noir as a wine lover’s dream in the Loire Valley.

Château de Plaisance, the chaume must go on!

The Loire is clearly rocking! Chaume must go on! Château de Plaisance, originally owned by the Rochais family since the 1960s, has been run by Vanessa Cherruau, a young winemaker from Anjou, since 2019.

Château de Plaisance spans more than a century of history, and belonged to the Rochais family until a young, pregnant winemaker from Anjou, aged 32, decided to turn her passion into a reality… In partnership with an investor, Vanessa Cherruau set herself the challenge of taking over this beautiful estate, set in the exceptional terroirs of the Anjou Noir region (which you know very well by now!) including  Chaume 1er cru, Quarts-de-Chaume grand cru and Savennières. Chenin is, of course, the king grape variety at the estate, and is used for both dry wines – the Ronceray cuvée is the best illustration of this – and sweet wines. Another source of pride is that Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are the only red vines planted on the famous Butte de Chaume… so this is the only place you’ll be able to taste them! How fitting that iDealwine should give you this opportunity!

Vinification and ageing are designed to bring out the distinctive features of each terroir and plot. A ‘Burgundian style’ approach is implemented with the utmost precision. The estate’s ethics are worthy of a book in themselves. Organic and biodynamic practices, minimal use of sulphur, reforestation, the reintroduction of biodiversity, soil preservation, equality and respect for all collaborators, not to mention good humour and creativity… Enough to restore Anjou Noir to its former glory.

Terra Vita Vinum, the newcomer in biodynamic and natural wines already stands tall

Originally known as Domaine Richou, this property of around 30 hectares lying in the Coteaux de l’Aubance was acquired by Luc Briand and Bénédicte Petit, a couple from Nantes, in 2019. The vines are cultivated biodynamically (Demeter certification in 2020), observing the lunar calendar and using quality plant material (a wide range of massal selections). Horse power is used to work the soil in some plots, and cows mow the grass. The estate places considerable emphasis on biodiversity and has replanted hedges and wooded areas. In the winery, the approach is as natural as possible, with no inputs, gravity-fed winemaking, native yeasts and long maturation periods.

The estate’s wines gained success very rapidly and are now among the region’s leading references.


Vincent Ogereau and his son Emmanuel are the 5th generation of the family to manage the 25 hectares of vines planted on the hillsides of Layon and Savennières. Here too, viticulture is geared towards promoting the expression of the terroir and biodiversity. The estate is certified organic and is in the process of obtaining a biodynamic certification. The winemaking process is traditional and gentle, with long maturation periods.

The estate showcases Chenin in all its forms, from dry to sweet, through a rich expression of its different terroirs. In 2020, the estate was voted ‘Producer of the Year’ by the Bettane & Desseauve guide.

Belargus, the rise of a passion

Belargus? It’s the French name of the Adonis blue butterfly that has always fluttered around the Coteau des Treilles. The Coteau des Treilles? This is a 70% slope to tame, a real geological chaos, a plot teeming with biodiversity that has never seen chemicals… a marvel that charmed Ivan Massonnat in February 2018. Ivan Massonnat? This passionate forty-something realised as an adult that his ‘madeleine de Proust’ was winemaking, a passion he owes to his ancestors – his grandfather had vineyards in Savoie – and to himself – from his love of Burgundy wines to his more recent discovery of Loire wines.

After years of research and apprenticeship, and a meeting with the legendary winemaker Jo Pithon, he finally decided to embark on his great winegrowing adventure. He acquired the estate and brought together several parcels of vines in three separate terroirs,  including 10 hectares in the only Quarts-de-Chaume grand cru in the Loire Valley, a vineyard in Savennières (at the foot of the Roche aux Moines) and plots in Coteaux-du-Layon. Today, the Belargus estate celebrates Chenin over almost 24 hectares cultivated using organic methods, with a low-intervention, parcel-based philosophy. To find out even more about the estate, read this article, sure to quench your thirst!

The owner and manager of the estate went even further following his instinct that the future of Anjou is very bright. In 2019, he revived the Paulée d’Anjou, of which he is president, bringing together 500 people at La Coulée de Serrant for some incredible tastings. ’Our region has a huge wealth of assets. We cultivate Chenin and Cabernet Franc, two grape varieties that produce fresh, easy-to-digest wines. Our winegrowers are great believers in nature, and we have one of the most organic vineyards in France.’ He is also involved in promoting the dry wines of the Quarts de Chaume appellation, originally known as Ronceray. All in all, this is definitely an estate you’ll want to keep a close eye on!

Shop all wines from Anjou Noir here

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