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L'Esprit Libre VdF, Thomas Batardière 2020
Thomas Batardière is a doer and does not stand still – born in 1980 in Angers, he studied anthropology and got bitten by the wine bug in 2008 while working as a cinematographer. Switching career path he worked as a sommelier first but being drawn to winemaking he decided to join Château Yvonne (Saumur, Anjou Blanc). Voluble, passionate and not afraid of a challenge he quickly became Mathieu Vallée’s right-hand man whilst studying viticulture in Beaune.
He finally struck out on his own in Rablay-sur-Layon (Anjou Noir) in 2012, buying a couple of hectares of his beloved chenin but without any equipment or cellar. He built the latter as well as his house right next door to Richard Leroy with whom he has become close. The two exchange a lot, so much so that there are talks about buying and operating a brand-new press together.
Most of the 30 to 90yo vines are in the lieu-dit L’Éspérance near Rablay-sur-Layon, next to the Domaine des Sablonettes (Jérémy Ménard and Thomas are mates regularly helping each other) on a gravelly plateau of red sand, quartz and clay. Thomas prefers stainless steel to accentuate chenin’s natural tension, a judicious choice in the recent hot vintages. This wine ages on fine lees without sulphur until bottling in the summer. It is fruit-forward but still bright and crisp with a strong saline stamp.
Producer Thomas Batardiere
Origin Rablay-sur-Layon, Maine-et-Loire, Loire, France
Grapes Chenin blanc
Alcohol 13.5% ABV
Style Medium body white
Bottle size 750ml
Winemaking Manual harvest, gently pressed, fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeast, undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Notes Natural, Organic, Biodynamic