Producer: Benoît Mérias
Region: Montlouis, Loire Valley
Farming: Organic (Ecocert), Natural
After a career as a teacher in a small village in the Aveyron, Benoît Mérias decided to start over, reinventing himself as a winemaker. He started to work at the Cave Coopérative de Marsillac, then trained in Amboise. After his graduation from that program, Benoît earned his stripes at Domaine de la Taille aux Loups in Montlouis before taking over 6 hectares of Chenin Blanc in Saint Martin le Beau in 2011.
Originally, the farm was owned by one of the many families of vintners of Saint-Martin le Beau. In 2000, predecessors Laurent and Sylvette Chatenay began to convert to organic viticulture, achieving certification in 2003.
The vines are planted to Chenin Blanc, also called Pineau de la Loire, the only grape variety allowed in the Montlouis-sur-Loire appellation. For the most part, the vines are 40 to 80 years old, with a few acres of young vines. The soils are worked by hand and the protective treatments, based on copper and sulfur, have followed ECOCERT specifications since 2000.
All the harvests are manual and require several successive passages, called tries, according to the plots and the vintages. Collected in boxes, the freshly picked grapes are transported to the pneumatic press. The entire vintage is then slowly pressed.
The juice begins its fermentation via indigenous yeasts in tanks or in barrels of at most 10 years. Then the wine is aged on its lees, with the duration varying according to the vintage and the wine. Bottling, preceded by a light filtration, makes it possible to minimize the amount of sulfur needed to stabilize the wines.
The different soils and terroirs give Benoît the chance to create different cuvées; from sand to siliceous, siliceous to flint on clay bedrock soils, Benoît’s wines are always bright and mineral.