Founded in 1920, Domaine Richou is a modest place off a country road deep in the Anjou Noir, known primarily for its slate soils, or schists that formed from very old volcanic activity. The Anjou is a large region in the Loire Valley with various soil compositions. To the east there is the famous limestone chalk soils called Tuffeau, volcanic schist soils in its center, and granite-based soils to the west near Muscadet. Domaine Richou is located in the center of Anjou in the small sub AOC of Coteaux de L’Aubance. It’s these soils along with excellent farming and winery work that make the Richou wines so pure, mineral-driven and complex.
The estate, managed by brothers Didier and Damien Richou, has been in the family for three generations, producing an outstanding range of Anjou wines from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Elder brother Didier has been winemaker here since 1979 while Damien took over responsibility in the vineyards in 1993. The brothers have long eschewed chemical fertilizers, converting to organics in 2000 and receiving certification with the 2013 vintage. They are now taking steps towards biodynamic viticulture.
In addition to their excellent holdings in the Anjou AOC, the domaine acquired a three-acre parcel across the river in Savennières in late 2010, on the plateau just behind the Roche aux Moines vineyard. Replanted in 2008, this parcel produced its first wine in the 2012 vintage. For an excellent, and still relevant piece on Savennières, click here for Eric Asimov’s tasting panel from 2010.