Château de Plaisance

France, Loire

Sometimes you meet people, and you instantly know there is something special about them. And so it was when we came across the brilliant Vanessa Cherruau from Anjou in the Loire Valley.
When we first encountered her, this dynamic 32 year-old had just taken over the beautiful Château de Plaisance in the heart of 'Anjou Noir' with old vineyards in the famous zones of Quarts de Chaume and Savennières too. The estate has been organic since 1995 and biodynamic since 2008, and she has taken on some gorgeous old vineyards with the plan to continue to work in this way.
These wines are a complete revelation. We could not decide which of the range to pick, we loved them all - so we have them all! This is justified by their distinctly individual styles and mesmerising drinkability - across the board. This part of the world has for generations been famed for its superb sweet wines - but with warming global conditions and less call for something sticky - there is a movement afoot, flouting the rules and making wines that you really want to drink.
Vanessa bought the estate from one of the early 'outlaws' here - Guy Rochais - who started to make a contraband dry wine from his ancient Quarts de Chaume vineyards. He was prosecuted for such outlandish behaviour - this could not be called 'Quarts de Chaume'! In subsequent years he continued to make this crisp dry Chenin, but with the new name 'The Insolent'.
This is an exciting part of the world for wine-lovers - and Vanessa and her Château de Plaisance wines are right at the forefront of this quiet revolution going on. Textured, bright and gorgeously weighted whites - and the most charming Cabernet Franc that you can imagine, pretty, perfumed and perfectly shaped. We could not be more thrilled to have just rolled onto our 3rd vintage from this rapidly rising star.

A relatively new winery on everyone's radar, Château de Plaisance is run by the switched-on, amiable Vanessa Cherruau. Co-owner and winemaker of the estate, she moved with her family to Angers at age 17. After trying her hand at a career in journalism, she fell in love with wine. With an investor, Cherruau purchased this biodynamic estate in the Chaume appellation. The area has historically been known for its sweet whites, but Cherruau is one of an increasing number of growers producing dry wine on the Chaume hill. She'll often be seen sporting her 'Chaume Must Go On' t-shirts. From her first vintage, 2019, the wines show purity and clarity. There's intensity and balance across the range from the Anjou Blanc to the powerful, sophisticated Zerzilles cuvée. Rebecca Gibb MW -  (Sep 2022)

The Anjou Blanc, Anjou Rouge and (for red wines alone) Anjou-Villages appellations are the best places to look for the new, over-achieving dry wines from this region, together with Savennières itself, a long-lauded but sometimes dowager-like dry-wine zone where many formerly drab estates have begun to come good recently. Coteaux du Layon and, astonishingly enough, Quarts de Chaume are turning to dry wines, even though Quarts de Chaume won jealously guarded Grand Cru status for its sweet wines (the only such designation in the whole Loire Valley) as recently as 2011. The grape variety for both is the chameleon-like Chenin Blanc, excellent in either dry or sweet guise. Naturally, any dry white wines produced in the Grand Cru zone have to be declassified to plain Anjou Blanc — but the producers don’t care. Nor, having tasted their efforts, do I. Great things are in store for this zone, regardless of appellation. August 2020. FT Magazine Andrew Jefford  (Aug 2020)

2021 RONCERAY Anjou Château de Plaisance, Lea & Sandeman
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