Loire Valley

Baudouin has an irrepressible desire to share - to share his knowledge about Anjou and Chenin, to share his passion for history, and above all, to share his wines. ‘There is so much history and geography in a bottle of wine’ says Baudouin with a charming and juvenile smile. 

Born in Anjou, Patrick Baudouin started his professional life in Paris in the 80s as a factory worker for more than a decade, and then he ended up selling books. In 1990, however, he became homesick. He packed his bags to return to the village of Chaudefonds-sur-Layon, where his great-grandparents had farmed vineyards at the beginning of the 20th century.

The estate is exceptionally located, but the vineyards had been abandoned, and less than one hectare was still planted with Chenin.

Patrick knew that the quality of the terroir was extraordinary, so he rolled up his sleeves, and with boundless energy, determination, and above all passion, he restored the neglected vineyards. He also bought new parcels and the decision to farm organically came rather instantaneously.

At the same time, he renovated the cellar of his ancestors. His mission was to craft resplendent Chenin wines according to precise and fine-tuned, although ancient, winemaking techniques. 

The 13.5 hectare vineyard is located on the great terroirs of the West of Anjou, in the Anjou Noir, named after the dark-coloured shales, sandstones, and volcanic rocks of the very old Armorican Massif, from 550 to 350 million years old, on a ridge between the Loire and the Layon (a tributary of the Loire). The estate focuses predominantly on the Chenin grape, and there is also a small proportion of Cabernet (three hectares). The vines range in age from 10 to 70 years, and are farmed without weedkillers since 1997, and without synthetic molecules since 2001. The domaine was certified organic in 2005. 

Biodiversity is at the heart of the estate’s philosophy and in order to preserve it, Patrick Baudoin works closely with the LPO (a French organisation focussing on bird protection) especially on the preservation of bats, in synergy with other local winemakers. Very aware of climate change, for many years Patrick has been taking step-by-step measures to prevent the loss of biodiversity: eco-construction including Canadian wells, insulation, semi-buried stock areas, rainwater recovery, reduced tractor hours, tree and hedge plantations.

Patrick Baudouin is assisted by four permanent staff, along with a number of part-timers from ESAT - an establishment that supports adults with disabilities.

While understated and quick to laugh, Patrick is a fervent activist in the drive to encourage better values within the AOC system. He is a total perfectionist, who gives birth to crystal-cut precision wines emphasising purity, subtlety, charm and elegance.

He translates an authentic expression of Chenin - the result of his hard and relentless work. The wines are harmonious, they have a sense of place displaying the particularities of individual plots. They are spectacularly complex and have great pedigree.

Essentially, Patrick crafts wines with a soul, and they are meant to be shared. His distinct and rigorous philosophy that he has forged for his domaine ensures that he will be a model for future generations in Anjou.

Profile © Françoise and Seán Gilley

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