Sunday 2 February 2020

As Didier retires Damien Richou creates Terra Vita Vinum

Terra Vita Vinum @Millésime Bio 2020 
L-R: Luc Briand, Bénédicte Petit, Damien Richou
Three of the four partners 

When Didier Richou (Domaine Richou, Mozé-sur-Louet, Anjou) took relatively earlier retirement at the age of 62 his younger brother Damien decided that he need to bring in some new associates to help him run the domaine. This has been successfully done and now he has three new partners – Luc Briand, who was born in Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay and is a director of Plus Value Conseil based in Nantes which advises on the running of wine domaines, Bénédicte Petit, a caviste (wine merchant), and Christophe Aubineau, who is a company auditor based in Nantes but who has a background in apple growing. The new project is called Terra Vita Vinum.

The new 'équipe' has already jazzed up the labels and launched a new cuvée – Rock & Schist. In this year they will qualify for the biodynamic Demeter status – completing their conversion to biodynamics.

I tasted with the new equipé (team) on the last morning of Bio Millésime 2020. Anjou Blanc Chauvigné, the entry level dry white Anjou, is now labelled Large Soif Blanc starting with the ripe and richly textured Large Soif Blanc 2019. Next 2018 Terre de 3, a new wine for me from three different parcels and first made in 2017. The 2018 is attractively vibrant, with good balance between the fruit and acidity with salinity in the finish. Next up the complex Les Rogeries (Anjou Blanc) and the vibrant and long 2018 Savennières – 30% vinified in barriques and 70% in stainless steel. I also had an early taste of the 2019 rock & schiste white from 38 year-old Chardonnay vines that is vinified and aged partly in Burgundy barrels and part in amphores.

For the reds I enjoyed the easy drinking, juicy 2018 Large Soif, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Gamay. Then to finish off there was the unfinished 2019 rock & schist rouge – bien élève, which is a blend of the two Cabernets – aged for one years in barrels and Italian amphores.

Clearly this is another interesting new development in Anjou. 

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