The domaine was formed in 2002 when Sebastien took over 1.8 hectares of vineyard and cellar from his maternal grandparents who had retired 15 years previously. The decision to work organically was imperative, especially under the influence of Olivier Cousin. Sebastien started off with 1.5 hectares of Cabernet Franc and 0.3 hectare of Chenin Blanc which he vinified in the domaine's historic cellar, carved in the tuffeau (limestone) of the Coteaux of Saumur. These wines, which are aged in barrels, gave birth to the first cuvées Amateus Bobi and Echalier.
In 2007, his thirst for experimentation led him to meet Bernard Pontonnier "Ponpon" who introduced him to the process of carbonic maceration. Next came time to expand. In 2010, Sebastien took over a tenancy of 2 hectares of Cabernet Franc. He also wanted to vinify grape varieties other than Cabernet and Chenin and decided to buy some Pineau d'Aunis, Gamay and Cot. Du Rififi a Beaulieu was born!
Sebastien grew up in and around wine. From the age of 7, he was helping his grandfather in the vineyard and cellar. Later, as a young adult, he worked in a wine lab.
He then spent some time in the world of glass- making and it wasn't until his early thirties that he came back to take over the family business. As the eighth generation of a family of winemakers, Sebastien had some stubbornness to contend with in order to introduce his way of doing things.
But eventually his hard work and determination won the family's approval. For a while he was happy tending his two hectares of vines but on turning 40, the desire to grow and diversify took hold of him. Meeting Emeline had also given him the strength and drive to undertake the new venture he'd been dreaming of.
Before making wine, Emeline was a professional dancer. After an injury she was forced to find a new career path and chose the world of wine. She trained as a sommelière in the famous University of Suze-la-Rousse, finishing first in her group. With her diploma in hand, she came back to Paris to work in the wine shop La Quincave.
It is here she discovered natural wine and the people who make it. After two years in the shop recommending these wines, she decided to go and meet the growers and their terroirs for a year-long wine trip around France. From pruning to bottling, she turned her hand to every job involved in the vineyard and the cellar.
After this life-changing experience, she decided to make a career in the wine trade, planning to open a wine shop/bar in Paris. But meeting Sebastien changed the course of her life and, once again, she changed career and became a wine maker with him.
From two plots of Chenin, including one aged over 80 years with very low yield, les Gruches is a dense and expressive white Saumur that expresses his terroir with generosity.
Depending on the vintage, the aging can last from 6 to 24 months. When drank young, it's bright and crisp, softening and filling out with age. Drink with fish, shellfish and crustaceans, as an aperitif or with cheese from the Loire.
DU RIFIFI A BEAULIEU
The earlier-maturing chardonnay is picked first, starts fermentation and is later joined by the chenin.
When the time comes (reaching the right sugar levels for fermentation), we seal the must in the bottles and leave the yeast to naturally finish eating the sugar. After a short time on the lees, we disgorge to get rid of the sediment. And then Du Rififi is born!
A dry, taut and aromatic pet'nat, just the way we like them.
A juicy, fruity Cabernet Franc with velvety tannins that tempt you to pour another glass! Ruben is a kind of chameleon, accompanying a wide array of dishes, from aperitif to pudding, fish to meat.
This wine is only made on the best vintages, otherwise, grapes are blended as part of Amateus Bobi.
Echalier is aged for over a year in wooden barrels, after a traditional maceration. This wine has deep complexity: its structure is dense and velvety, taut and textural. On the palate aromas are well-balanced between ripe fruits, earth and spices. The low yields of the plot make this wine somewhat exclusive – Echalier is much sought after!