Variety: Chenin Blanc
Country, Region: France, Loire
This is the smallest parcel of the domaine, 0.5 hectares, in the commune of Savennières. On a small hillside where the environment is calm and one hears only the birds. "La Vigne Cendrée", in spite of its small surface is an exceptional mosaic of terroir : purple schist, granite and clay silt. Because of the clay and the southern exposition, this wine is naturally richer. Half is aged in 226 liter burgundy barrels and half in foudre, with no new wood, for 12 months, this wine is very "Burgundian". "La Vigne Cendrée" offers a combination of generosity and mineral tension under a noble reduction. The most powerful soil with a higher percentage of clay leads to a mouth which is bigger tasted from foudre, but more refined in barrel. Tiny production and just a few cases for Australia.
'The three wines of Boudignon were the best dry chenins that I tasted at the Salon of Angers, we are at the level of 1er Cru and Grand Cru Burgundy.' Michel Bettane
Thibaud Boudignon is one of the new young stars of the Loire Valley based in Savennieres. He also owns two small vineyards across the river on the south side of the Loire in the Anjou. Having worked with Philippe Charlopin in Gevrey Chambertin, Chateau Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux (amongst others) and also in Australia he has been (since 2007) the winemaker for Chateau Soucherie in Coteau du Layon making a range of dry and sweet wines for that large prestigious property.
With a total of just 7 hectares of vines he has gradually bought and planted several prime parcels in the small Savennieres appellation including a parcel which borders Baumard's Clos St Yves vineyard (not far from the famous La Roche-aux-Moines vineyard). He has also planted another vineyard, Le Clos de Fremine, just south of Savennieres near the village of La Possonnière with sandy soil and across the road is his main vineyard Clos de la Hutte beside which he has built a remarkable small and modern winery which is regulated by thermal energy which is submerged below the ground around the winery. Given the small size of the winery it is clear that he intends to concentrate on small quantities of chenin blanc which are already pushing the boundaries of what has been accepted as possible with this variety.
Working organically in the vineyards he harvests by hand making successive tries throughout each vineyard ending with yields that are much lower than the AOC rules. During the growing season he employs one person per hectare to manage the vines. In the winery the grapes are whole bunch pressed with no settling and the juice kept cold before starting a long slow fermentation. He vinifies with natural yeasts and ages the wines on lees with minimal SO2 in a mixture of barrels ranging from 300-600 litres. There are hogsheads, cigares, puncheons and small 600 litre foudres from the highly regarded Austrian cooper, Stockinger. Ultimately though, new oak influence is not a part of the style. This results in wines of striking purity, depth and intensity, with each wine clearly reflecting its particular terroir. They are really profound wines with terrific freshness and structure that have the capacity to age well for many years.
All the white wines are 100% Chenin Blanc. Availability is very limited and the wines sell out quickly each year.