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Julie Cathcart & Toby Bainbridge

Anjou, Loire, France

A wonderfully complete profile of these two can be found on the ever-reliable blog Wine Terroirs. Because I’ve yet to meet these two, and because their import into the UK began in the era of Covid, what I’m saying below of their history is merely paraphrasing what can be found elsewhere with far more detail.

The story of this lovely couple begins far from their current home in Chavagnes Les Eaux, not far from Anjou in France. Toby’s of British nationality and Julie is from the States; they met abroad while Toby traveled through the US during his early years as an agriculturalist. A stint with Didier Chaffardon was parlayed into a stint with Rene Mosse, before the two took the leap of faith into bottling wines under their own domaine name.

Now, for some original content. I find the history of Toby’s time with Chaffardon and Mosse particularly interesting because it doesn’t seem to have much influence on the style of wine being produced by the domaine. At Mosse, wines (particularly the chenins) tend to feel long, developed, with oxidative qualities, with a real nod to their elevage in wood. Chez Chaffardon we find broad, aromatic styles with mouth filling textures and plump fruit character. With Bainbridge & Cathcart, quite the opposite; wines are fixed in a position of swift purity: light and fresh, quick but not immediate, easy without being simple.

It’s a stylistic decision that, in the current climate, is massively favoured on the consumer end but often less so on the producer end, and so, maybe speaks to their expat status in France. Without being tied down to local tradition, they’ve paved their own way into wine, producing wines of ease and accessibility that still speak volumes of the terroir and the cellar. We’re quite pleased with the intersection these wines meet at, and even more so, to share them with you.

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