One of the oldest and most celebrated domaines in Savennières, Chateau d’Epiré is rich in history, not only for its fabulous architectural rendition of the Petit Trianon of Versailles, but most especially for its exquisite wines. Savennières is situated just southwest of Angers, on the north bank of the Loire River. Vines have been cultivated there since the time of the Romans. The Plantagenet dynasty allowed for the first exports of the wine to be sent to Great Britian in the 11th century. The domaine itself has been in the Bizard family continuously since the 17th century. The most recent owners and caretakers of the land are Monsieur and Madame Luc Bizard. They own eleven hectares, nine of which are entirely dedicated to the cultivation of Pineau de la Loire, known today as Chenin Blanc. The château is exquisite, but the pièce de résistance is their winery, formerly a Romanesque chapel, which is from the 12th century. Truly a blessed wine!
Despite the beauty and timelessness of the building structures, it is the vineyard for which the domaine is best known. The Savennières from Epiré is regarded as Grand Cru. The domaine works primarily three parcels: La Croix Picot, Le Parc, and Le Hu-Boyau. It is the latter that sits just above another famous vineyard, La Coulée de Serrant. The soils here are rich, and the microclimate is ideal. Southern and south-eastern sun exposure brings ripeness to the grapes, while the proximity to the Loire River keeps the temperatures moderate. The subsoils are comprised of sandstone and schist, and the top soil is a beautiful blue slatey schist that covers the vineyard floors, lending nerve and firmness. We import two cuvées of Savennières from Château d’Epiré. Their Cuvée Spéciale is blended by Kermit from their best parcel and creates a dry wine, austere within its first two or three years, that develops substantially with age. This cuvée is aged in traditional but largely abandoned chestnut barrels. The other cuvée is also dry, but more accessible young, with notes of exotic fruits. Both are delicious and spectacularly complex, and show a value disproportionate to their pedigree.