A selection of Chenin Blanc from his oldest vines, which are up to a hundred years of age. The grapes are pressed straight to barrels for fermentation before two years of élevage in ancient caves of tuffeau hidden in the hills outside his village. The gentle ageing has rendered a wine of impeccable balance and poise. Heady with baked apple, minerals and spice, it has a long, lingering line of acidity that offers balance and brings refreshment in spades.
Renaud Guettier is based in the village of Bueil-en-Touraine in the Coteaux-du-Loir. It is an area blessed with numerous hidden old parcels of Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis. Renaud trained as an agronomist specialising in plant physiology and in 2004 purchased half a hectare of old vines from his stepfather. Over the past decade he has added tiny parcels of old vines bit by bit and now farms over 25 plots across around five hectares, with an average vine age of 80 years.
The terroir is a combination of clay, flint and limestone and farming is both meticulous and admirable, done organically and by hand, without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Grapes are hand picked and brought to his cave in a former quarry dug into the limestone cliffs where they are wild fermented, basket pressed and fed by gravity to the cellar below. There they have a gentle élevage in old wooden casks, something Renaud considers vital when producing wines as he does, without anything added at any stage.
These diverse plots of old, healthy vines and Renaud’s attention to detail to both farming and élevage yields chiseled, powerful wines of uncommon balance, elegance and detail.