Domaine les Grandes Vignes

Domaine les Grandes Vignes  is situated in the pleasant Loire Valley village of Roche Aubry which is close to Thouarcé and hence in the heart of the Anjou wine appellation.

Here they tend their vines biodynamically which is a big ask for an estate that covers 55 hectares! However sheep and goats graze on the grass growing between the vines, helping to fertilise the soil as they go. The plowing is done with horses and all the grapes are picked by hand. They are certified by AB and by Demeter.

They make all their white wines from Chenin Blanc and their reds exclusively from Cabernet Franc. Their rosé varies depending on the year and the requirements of the appellations (there is a special appellation for rosé wines in the Anjou area).

Domaine les Grandes Vignes Bulles Nature Rosé

This a totally natural sparkling wine (the word 'nature' can only appear on a wine label in France if the wine adheres to the strictest conditions) made with only one fermenation in the bottle. This method is known in France as Methode Ancestrale.

The grapes have never been sprayed, the wine hasn't been fined or filtered and the fermentation was with natural yeasts.

The soil here is clay and gravel with some shale. The grapes are sourced from two vineyards, La Butte at Faveraye-Machelles which was planted in 2008 and la Noue at the nearby village of Thouarcé.

They are planted to both Groslot Noir and Groslot Gris.

RRP: $41

Domaine les Grandes Vignes Pineau de la Loire 2014

This white, still, slightly sweet wine is made from 100% Chenin Blanc which also goes by the name of Pineau de la Loire locally.

The vines grow on flat vineyards in clay and gravel soils with some shale providing additional minerality.

We have been lucky enough to walk through this vineyard to inspect the incredibly healthy grapes and to see the care with which the vines have been managed.

The biodynamic approach to vineyard management really shines through in the Domaine Les Grandes Vignes vineyards with healthy vines producing grapes with intense flavour.

This is a pleasantly sweet wine with 32 grams of residual sugar.

RRP: $41

Domaine Les Grandes Vignes Groslot Rouge 2014

This red wine is made from one of the most interesting grape varieties in the Anjou region, namely Grolleau Noir. This variety is descended from Gouais Blanc (the same grape that is a parent of Chardonnay) but another parent is not known. It was originally found in the Charentes region of France.

It is very savoury, very pure and has great length. The vineyard is very healthy with clay and sand soils supplemented by lots of fossil shells that add minerality to the soil. The healthy soils are also a result of the biodynamic methods used to tend the vines and the soil here.

This is a very "smashable" wine.

RRP: $35

Domaine Les Grandes Vignes Groslot 2014 Rosé

This is a slightly sweet rose made from the Grolleau (Groslot) grape variety that is nurtured in the western sector of the Loire Valley. It matches perfectly with berry desserts, ice cream and even charcuterie.

RRP: $35

Domaine Les Grandes Vignes Cabernet d'Anjou 2014

Cabernet d'Anjou is a very special appellation dedicated to slightly sweet rosé wines made from the Cabernet grapes (Cabernet Franc 50% and Cabernet Sauvignon 50%) picked from vines that are at least 20 years old that thrive in clay and sand soils impregnated with lots of fossil shells.  This cuvée has 60 grams per litre of residual sugar putting it on the border of a sweet wine and making it a candidate for a chilled aperitif.

These wines are a perfect accompaniment to desserts made from strawberries or cherries, fruit tarts or more exotic Asian desserts. We think it would go very nicely with a traditional Portugese dish of walnut souffle called pudim de noses that we often make when walnuts are fresh.

It is certainly a lighter-style wine with only 10.23% alcohol.

RRP: $36

Domaine les Grandes Vignes Anjou Villages Les Cocainelles 2013

This is a red wine of great provenance. The Cabernet Franc vines grow on soils made from decomposed grey and black schist mixed with decaying marine fossils. It is classified as an Anjou Villages wine made from vines that are over 25 years old which makes it stand out among the crowd in this region. The wine was naturally fermented and underwent remontage. It was bottled without fining and without filtration. This is a smooth, silky wine with a great mouth-feel. No sulphur has been added at any stage. Well worth trying.


Domaine les Grandes Vignes Anjou Rouge l'Aubiniae 2013

This is an entry level red wine for Domaine les Grandes Vignes, however it shows all the great characteristics of the Cabernet Franc grape variety. The vines are around 20 years old and the soils are derived from schist and clay.

This wine underwent a short (3 day) maceration on skins before being transferred to oak barrels that were three years old to ferment and mature. The wine was bottled without filtering or fining and without any added sulphur.

The nose gives hints of red fruits, there is a lovely mouth-feel which finishes with fine tannins. Very low alcohol at 11%.

This is a great introductory wine at this price.

RRP: $36

Domaine les Grandes Vignes Anjou Blanc La Varenne du Combre 2013

This 100% Chenin Blanc has been made from grapes picked from vines that are at least 20 years old.

The vineyard is covered with soil derived from schist with which Chenin Blanc has a great affinity. The vineyard is very close to the famous Layon river.

The grapes were pressed lightly under low pressure and then underwent a light racking before fermenting on their lees in oak barrels.  Maturation for 20 months in large barrels to produce a complex white wine of elegance and power and a very long mineral finish.