Stephane Orieux - Domaine de la Bregeonnette

Stéphane Orieux produces his wines in the town of Valet, in the Sévre-et-Maine appellation of the Loire Valley. The Domaine, called Domaine de la Bregeonnette, was a pioneer of organic winemaking when Stéphane's father Joseph started experimenting with natural pest control in the vineyard in the sixties.

The many decades of experience in organic farming make Stéphane a local expert, as Marc Olliver of Domaine de la Pépière told us at the Loire Valley wine show: "This is where I go when I have questions about sustainable farming".

Stéphane's wines are characterized by varietal precision, elegance and minerality from the soils of his vineyards around the town of Vallet.

His harvest starts with his signature AOC Gros Blanc, a racy and high-strung white from the grape Folle Blanche, the variety that is used to make Cognac. A true summer wine, this is a geek wine that clocks in at a mere 11.5%, — delicious when served with good cheese on a warm summer afternoon.

The domaine's business card though is of course the Muscadet Sévre-et-Maine from mica-schist soils of the domaine: a classic fresh, youthful and mineral driven Muscadet at a price that makes this region probably the best value in whites anywhere in France.

Granite soils and old vines in a small parcel, the Clos de Coudray, receive a healthy amount of special love every year and are bottled as the considerably mightier special bottling by the same name,— Muscadet at the highest level.