Thomas Batardière
L'Esprit Libre, 2018

Grower: Thomas Batardière
Region: Rablay-sur-Layon, France
Grape Varieties: Chenin Blanc
Viticulture: Biodynamic
Size: 75cl bottle

Thomas seems to us a man of quiet greatness. He had a few past lives, once an anthropologist, another time a cinematographer, all before settling down into the ever-changing career of vigneron. After working with Chateau Yvonne, he managed to buy a few (4 total, 3.3 farmed) hectares of vines in the acclaimed Anjou Noir of Rablay-sur-Layon, with most sites situated at the southern side of the river, but holds small parcels in the esteemed Faye d’Anjou as well, where he grows his best chenin. The winemaking takes an intellectual approach, no doubt in part due to having Richard Leroy as his next door neighbour. Maintaining acidity and clarity into terroir are key to Thomas, and he calls himself a “pragmatic” winemaker: using sulfur occasionally, but only when absolutely necessary. We’re ever intrigued by the spectrum of wine coming from Thomas’s chai: some wildly clean and light-handed, some with glorious, opulent extraction. Style aside, each wine delivers something special. Using only stainless steel during elevage accentuates the tension and lean minerality of L'Esprit Libre. Laser focused, with only a touch of underripe white fruit to break up the predominant saline character.

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