Keeping it in the Wayward family with this one, Stella Maris is made using Sauvignon Blanc grapes bought in from the other Touraine grower we import, Mikaël Bouges. The resulting wine is very different to your typical white from this region; first of all the grapes are allowed to fully ripen before picking, meaning an absence of those green, underripe flavours. Second, after fermentation the wine is allowed rest for a little over a year in old barrels and only once the sugar has completely fermented out of the wine (a completely natural process with the native yeasts) is it ready for bottling. The fruit has an almost tropical lilt to it, with the time in barrel rounding it out nicely. Impeccably clean and crystalline, this is Noëlla’s entry-level Sauvignon that delivers pleasure in spades.
Since starting to make wine in 2001, Noëlla has trained with and worked alongside some of the great names of the Loire. A couple of years with Agnès and René Mosse in Anjou led to her becoming the vineyard manager at Les Bois Lucas after becoming friends with Junko Ara, then onto renting parcels of the feted Clos Roche Blanche estate in Touraine from Catherine Roussel and Didier Barrouillet. She now makes wine with fruit from a mixture of owned and rented parcels at her beautiful cellar carved out of the hillside in Thésée; a testament to her hard work and determination over the last 18 years.
Noëlla chooses to work under the more general VDF denomination rather than AOC and her wines stand apart from the perceived notion of Touraine. “If it doesn’t smell like cat piss, you don’t get the appellation” she quips - but only half jokingly. She refers to the prevalence of industrial yeasts used in the area to enhance supposedly typical flavours in the wine. Noella ferments with native yeasts and seeks a longer maturation period in old barrels than is usual, meaning her wines are released much later than many other producers nearby. This patience is rewarded with sublime depth and texture in the wine; rich and fully-ripened Sauvignon Blanc, deep-fruited Cabernet Franc and velvet-soft Malbec.