Chateau de Plaisance
Vanessa Cherruau is a steward of one of the Loire’s great terroirs – Chaume. After finishing wine school in Angers, she worked throughout the wine industry for 12 years before befriending the Rochais family on the Chaume hill, who owned Chateau de Plaisance (more a farmhouse than Chateau) and its 25 ha of vines growing on the schist bedrock of the appellation. With plans to sell the historic estate to the local cooperative, Vanessa convinced the family to sell to her instead, allowing her to continue the fine legacy they left, while forging a new path for Loire greatness. Luckily for Vanessa, she inherited some of the most well-cared for vines on the hill, as Plaisance has been certified organic since 1995 and certified biodynamic since 2008. She of course has continued the biodynamic viticulture started by her predecessors, knowing that taking care of the natural environment of the vines is of utmost importance. Since her first vintage in 2019, she has helped raise the image of dry Chenin made on the Chaume hill to where it is now one of the most interesting terroirs in the Loire.
Only 10km south of Savennieres, Chaume is a sweet-wine only appellation (Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru and Coteaux de Layon 1er Cru Chaume), and so Vanessa and the other producers of dry Chenin on the hill, cannot legally put Chaume on their labels. This hasn’t deterred Vanessa from continuing to make world-class dry wines, joining other growers on the hill to create their own name for dry Chenin made from vines on the Chaume hill – Ronceray. This name has been adopted by growers to help promote the dry wines of Chaume, with its origin coming from the name of a 17th century monastery that made dry wines on the Chaume hill. Vanessa is unquestionably of the leaders of this qualitative surge in the area, with whites and reds of gorgeous purity and soaring minerality.