The L'Esprit Libre Chenin comes from three parcels situated in Rablay, with vines between 15 to 90 years old planted on red sand and gravel on quartz schists. It is first blended in steel tank before fermentation begins, and then he allows spontaneous fermentation to start (and finish through) without even manipulation with temperatures. The wines sit on the lees up until September, all the while never seeing any addition of sulphur (or other products for that matter.) Before bottling, the wines are racked and filtered, but not fined. A small amount of sulphur (1 to 2 grams) is used at bottling.
A native of Angers, Thomas Batardiere attended Viticultural school in Beaune, as well as working alongside Mathieu Vallee at Chateau Yvonne to gain more experience. From there, after graduating in 2011, he felt ready to purchase two hectares of old vine Chenin Blanc he found in the village of Rablay sur Layon in Anjou. For some years he sold organic and natural wines, as well as learned how to work that way, and with his very first strike upon the soil in 2012 Thomas practiced biodynamic viticulture and became Demeter certified with his 2015 vintage.
Today, he works a total of 3.5 hectares: 2.5 of Chenin, .85 of Grolleau and .15 of Cabernet Franc. When he began in 2012, as he puts it, it was without a cave, without a house, without a tractor- just a pruner and those two hectares of vines. But by 2014 he has set up his winery in the heart of the village of Rablay sur Layon.
"Biodynamics aims to heighten the general acoustics. Meaning that it allows the vine to communicate better with its environment, more deeply from the earth to the cosmos. Biodynamics also allows the winemaker and the plants to better interact. For this three fundamental practices are at work: the 500, 501, and Maria Thun.
The 500 is cow manure in a cow horn that is buried during autumn and winter. This preparation aims to better communicate with the earth. It's sprayed in spring.
The 501 is silica and quartz in a cow horn that is buried during spring and summer. This helps the vine to better communicate with its astral environment, air, vibrations, and the vibes and movements of the planets. It's sprayed during spring and summer, during the period of vegetation.
Finally, Maria Thun is a compost of cow manure that receives all of the preparations. It's a compost made in summer and sprayed after harvest.
Biodynamics brings life to the plant, the parcel, and the entire domaine, leaving it more rich and complex. And that shows in the wines. A living wine is better expressed and with a greater variety."