Savennières' vineyard and AOC (controlled designation of origin)

Published on 13 April 2017 - Updated 16 November 2018

Geology, climate and a grape variety come together

We are now with Évelyne de Pombriand, a Wine Grower in Savennières, at Domaine du Closel.
Savennières is a shale plateau found to the south of Angers, it’s notable for its exposure, facing the River Loire, with slopes oriented towards the light. At the bottom, it’s a shale plateau, but at the top you can find areas where there’s sand as well. It’s also made up of fissures and in these fissures which we call coulées, there are absolutely remarkable plots, such as Coulée de Serrant, Roche-au-Moine and Clos du Papillon, for example. They have a slightly warmer climate as they are in small valleys, soil which is very complex but which drains particularly well, and a number of rocks with volcanic origins. These great white wines are blessed when it comes to geography. Chenin blanc is a grape variety cultivated here which can be found under the names Vouvray, Montlouis, Saumur, Quart-de-chaume, Coteaux du Layon, amongst others, but Savennières is the only controlled designation of origin in the Loire Valley which is associated with the shale soil.
The only grape variety used to make Savennières is Chenin Blanc. Chenin blanc arrived in the Loire in around the 11th century; it comes from Savagnin, a grape variety from the Jura region, so there are notes which can sometimes be reminiscent of Jura wines. As it soaks in the characteristics of its terroir, i.e. its environment, it is very interesting as it can therefore offer a truly remarkable and diverse range of wines. The results are not the same thing at all if the vines are grown in the little coulées or on the shale hills or on the sandy plateau. The vine has an abundance of flowers between 5th and 10th June, and 100 days afterwards, in September, it reaches maturity. The AOC is small in surface area as there are 156 hectares and 35 wine-growers. The vast majority of these 35 wine-growers are very passionate about their land and truly seek excellence. 80% of the estates are organic and a number of them use biodynamic farming.