Savennières, Loire, France
Originally from Bordeaux, Thibaud Boudignon is one of the most exciting new producers in the Loire Valley. Thibaud honed his winemaking craft while working at Philipe Charlopin in Gevrey-Chambertin during the early 2000s. He was shortly thereafter hired by Savennières producer Chateau Soucherie to be their winemaker in the late 2000s where he implemented the organic practice. In 2009, Thibaud began to make wine under his own name from just over 2 hectares of vines in Anjou and approximately 1 hectare of vines in Savennières where he planted several prime parcels including a parcel which borders Baumard’s Clos St Yves vineyard (not far from the famous La Roche-aux-Moines vineyard).
What’s worth mentioning is that Thibaud produces two Anjou Blancs, one of which is called “à Francois(e)” Anjou Blanc – named in honour of his mother Françoise, who passed away when Thibaud was 17, and his grandfather François who helped him get started. As the flagship of the house, “à Francois(e)” Anjou Blanc started from 2009 vintage with a production of 1,000 bottles and gets produced only if conditions are satisfying. 2014 is by far his most satisfied cuvee for à Francois(e). The cuvee’s quantity has dropped in the past few years to make sure its focus stays on quality.
As a former judo champion, Thibaud Boudignon’s strong personality and athletic mindset have influenced his work as he takes care of his vineyards, cellar and vinification with full dedication. He farms small parcels of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc with his hands, heart and inspiration. The soil here is schist with no water reserve in itself, which is a common threat to the Savennières region. But skillful vine growers are capable of maintaining the hydration with careful vineyard management.
As part of a new generation of Loire vignerons, Thibaud has committed himself to crafting honest wines that embody the spirit of the region. Working organically in the vineyards he harvests by hand making successive tries throughout each vineyard ending with low yields that are much lower than the AOC rules. Sharing the same philosophy with the vineyard, the cellar is a replication of a traditional one – an all-natural cellar with excellent conditions and no harm to the planet.
He vinifies with natural yeasts and ages the wines in a mixture of barrels ranging from 300-600 litres. From harvest to fermentation, Thibaud takes only one step at a time. Decisions on cuvees and vinification will only be made upon harvest is done, and after harvest the grapes are kept at 3°C to keep its freshness and precision. The results are intense, concentrated, elegant and age-worthy Chenin Blancs that can already be found on the wine lists of many of the best restaurants in London and Paris. Availability is very limited and the wines sell out quickly each year.