Sébastien Bobinet and his partner, a professional dancer-turned-vigneronne, Emeline Calvez, have been heavily influenced by Jules Chauvet, the godfather of natural winemaking. They’ve also gotten some help from the Loire’s legendary Foucault brothers (Clos Rougeard), and are at the forefront of revitalizing Saumur-Champigny, bringing biodiversity to the vineyards throughout their area. Olivier Cousin has been a particularly strong influence as well.
Sébastien started with two hectares of old-vines vineyards, which he inherited from his grandfather in 2003, planted with Cabernet Franc, Cot (Malbec), Pineau d’Aunis, and Chenin Blanc. Emeline came on board in 2011. She had been a professional dancer for about a decade, but her career was cut short by a shoulder injury. She then spent several years studying wine, working as a natural wine sommelier/wine merchant in Paris, and taking a wine tour of France, which is how she met Sébastien. They now make wine together from seven hectares.
Staunch traditionalists at heart, they work their tuffeau, limestone and clay soils organically with the help of a horse-drawn plow. Harvesting is done by hand; they de-stem the grapes, and allow the native yeasts to start a long, slow, natural fermentation.
They like to use a semi-carbonic method, and to patiently age their wines in 330 liter oak barrels for up to 18 months in the domaine’s typical, naturally cool, troglodyte caves. Both their house and their cellar are underground structures, dug in the rock of the slope, that allow the wines aging in barrels to remain at a constant 54 degree temperature. They bottle their wines unfined and unfiltered, without added sulfites.