Bonnezeaux AOC is among France’s most renowned sweet white wines. It is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grown near Angers in the commune of Thouarcé (Maine-et-Loire department) which is within the Coteaux du Layon AOC in the Anjou district of France’s Loire Valley. Thouarcé lies on the right bank of the Layon, overlooking the river from the top of a steep hill. The name “Bonnezeaux” translates as ‘good waters’ and may derive from ferruginous nature of the local water sources.
Communes (1): Thouarcé.
Terroir: The vineyard is planted on a succession of three south-west facing hillsides: “La Montagne”, “Beauregard” and “Fesles”, forming a band 2,800m (9,186 feet) long and 500m (1,640 feet) wide. The slopes of these hills are about 15% to 20% and particularly marked on the west slope of “Beauregard” as well as on the central hill, aptly named “La Montagne”, which originates near the hamlet of “Petit Bonnezeaux.” North of these three demarcated slopes is a slightly undulating plateau, with an average altitude of 90m (295 feet) while the Layon River flows at an altitude of 29m (95feet).
Geology, soils: The geological substratum belongs to the “Saint-Georges-sur-Loire series”, a schistous complex dating from the Upper Ordovician to the Lower Devonian. It is sometimes covered, especially on the hillside of “Fesles”, by the gravel-clay or sandy-clay formations of the Cenomanian. Erosion has exposed the schist base, while the sands and clays have remained in place on the hinterland and the plateau. Soils in plots precisely delimited for wine-growing are shallow, very rich in coarse elements, greenish gray in colour, sometimes “wine lees”. Their water reserve is less than 100 millimeters and their drainage capacity is excellent.
Climate: The geographical area benefits from an attenuated oceanic climate and is poorly watered, sheltered from oceanic humidity by the higher reliefs of Choletais and Mauges. The hillsides are locally open to the prevailing southwest and west winds. Annual precipitation ranges from about 550 millimetres to 600 millimeters, while it is more than 800mm (31.5 inches) over the reliefs of Choletais and Mauges. Rainfall during the vine’s vegetative cycle is about 100mm (4 inches) lower than the average for the department.
Biodiversity: The southern flora that develops specifically on these hills testifies to this relative aridity and a temperature higher than that of the surrounding areas. Producers quickly understood the value of harvesting this grape at an advanced maturity
Winemaking: Maximum yields are 25 hl/ha.
Certified Biodynamic | La Ferme de la Sansonnière.