Domaine Pierre Menard
Pierre Menard grew up in a winemaking family in Anjou. He went on to study winemaking in Angers and to work stints in Pauillac at Chateau Latour, in the Duoro, Canada, New Zealand and in Tokaj, Hungary. When he returned home to Anjou, he began farming a few rows of his family’s old vine Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc. Traditionally his parents sold the grapes from all 13 hectares of their vines to a cooperative, but they agreed to let him keep some for his own project. Pierre recognized the potential and beauty of the near century old Quarts des Noel Chenin Blanc, their lieu dit Clos de Mailles and the 50-year-old Sauvignon Blanc planted on schist at the top of Clos de Roche in the Coteaux du Layon. In 2013, while still in his twenties, he bottled a miniscule number of bottles in a garage turned wine cellar. This inaugural vintage was received with great critical acclaim and a rising star of Anjou was born.
Since then, Pierre has expanded his holdings to more than 1.5 hectares, all farmed biodynamically. He makes several bottlings of Chenin Blanc from these old vines, all dry. In a region known for its passion for and ability to make sweet botrytis laden wines, Pierre feels the beauty of their terroir, in particular the schist soils and the old vines are best showcased when clean grapes are vinified completely dry. He makes several passes removing the grapes that are affected by the noble rot (and saves them for a sweet wine bottling) ensuring the remaining grapes are pristine and healthy. Winemaking is low intervention, no new oak, barrels range from 1-3 years, and a slow cold fermentation that often lasts until the spring adds layers of complexity and depth.
We first tasted Pierre’s wine several years ago by chance at a wine bar in the Loire while attending a natural wine fair. We were determined to bring his beautiful wines into the U.S. and our first import was virtually a handful of bottles! However, slowly as his production has grown so have our offerings from his Domaine, adding his luscious Cabernet Franc called Apollo and his beguiling take on Rose. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with such an innovative natural young winemaker.