Saurigny, Lejeune, Helicon, Stéphane Cossais, Nicolas Barbou… Do these names mean anything to you? They are the Loire domains that are starting to see their prices soar at auction. Wines from these still quite unknown producers sold for more than €100 a bottle in January.
We will not stop saying that the Loire is one of the most dynamic and attractive regions at the moment and it is packed full of gems that are still relatively unknown but are of a high quality. Alongside the already well-known producers such as Clos Rougeard, Dagueneau and Edmond Vatan or those creating natural wines like Richard Leroy, Mark Angeli, Les Jardins Esmeraldins, and Stéphane Bernaudeau, we are regularly seeing new names appearing and wine enthusiasts are not thinking twice about spending substantial amounts to get their hands on wines by these emerging producers. This report will take a closer look at these unknown Loire winemakers, the new and disappearing domains and the natural wines that are mainly coming from the micro-domains in Anjou Noir.
Located in Rochefort-sur-Loire, this Anjou domain is the work – which you might have suspected – of Jérôme Saurigny. The winemaker studied oenology in Bordeaux, before starting his own domain with a crowdfunding operation in 2006. Work at the domain is carried out in the most natural way possible and it produces natural wines (without any or with very little added sulphur).
This domain’s wines interested those placing bids on the iDealwine website in January, especially with Americans. One bottle of Vin de France Grold 2021 and one bottle of Vin de France Piu each went for €124 at auction. As for the cuvée Vin de France Salamandre 2017, it sold for €192 at the start of February.
Clos des Plantes – Olivier Lejeune
This is another domain found in Anjou. Le Clos des Plantes was created by Olivier Lejeune in 2017 after a previous life working in the IT sector. He studied oenology and had his first experience working in the wine industry in New Zealand before going out on his own. He has taken over three hectares of vines that sit in beautiful terroirs on the Mont Benault hill very close to those of Richard Leroy. Here, work is also done as naturally as possible, and the wines don’t contain any added sulphites (or they have the tiniest dose).
In January, many of his wine surpassed the €100 mark. An example is the Vin de France Poiesis 2020, with one bottle selling for €120 (+29%) and a bottle from the 2019 vintage selling for €102 (+22%). This is certainly a domain that has seduced French wine enthusiasts.
This domain also has a story about changing careers. Constantin Vellis swapped his job as a HR advisor to follow his passion for wine and started this domain in 2018. He cares for a little less than two hectares of vines with an organic approach and creates natural wines (using a very small amount of sulphur).
His Vin de France Frênésie 2019 sold for €105 in January (+12%), making a French wine lover very happy.
This is a domain that has almost disappeared today after the passing of the winemaker in 2009. It was a small, organic domain in Montlouis (3 hectares) which was created in 2001 and produced eight vintages. The winemaker spent time learning his trade at Clos Rougeard in particular. He is known for producing the finest, most elegant Chenin wines in the region thanks to their very precise maturation in old demi-muids (600 L vats).
This domain’s wines are regularly found in the list of the most expensive Loire wine sold at auction. One bottle of Montlouis-sur-Loire Le Volagré 2008 was bought by an Italian wine enthusiast for €186 in January, for example.
The son of the winemakers at Domaine des Corbillières, Nicolas Barbou has recently decided to produce his own wine after his experience working in the wine industry in New Zealand, Sancerre and at Jean-Yves Bizot’s domain in Burgundy. Not much information is available on this winemaker that remains our little secret.
His cuvée Touraine Oisly Utopie Créative 2019 sold for €124 in January, but it went for even more in 2022 (€188).