Meet the producers: Pauline Mourrain & Laurent Troubat
Both had previous careers in engineering and, while taking time out travelling, they ended up WWOOFing in Australia working on a vineyard – hence the name, L'Austral. Pauline studied oenology in Dijon while Laurent worked as a ski and sailing instructor. Pauline did an internship with Aymeric of Melaric. That is how they arrived in Le-Puy and were introduced to Philippe Gourdon who leased them the vineyards.
Pauline Mourrain & Laurent Troubat
4.5 hectares, organic with biodynamic principles
COUNTRY, REGION, SUBREGION
France, Loire, Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame
Laurent is originally from the Alps, and Pauline from Brittany. They met at engineering school; he is a land-surveyor and Pauline a plastic and materials engineer. They worked for one year as engineers in France but we were not very happy stuck in front of a computer.
They travelled and worked in Australia in different farms and in a winery on the west coast. This is where they fell in love with wine, and where the name L'Austral comes from.
Pauline then studied in Burgundy to become an enologist; during which time Laurent was a ski instructor during winter and sailing instructor during summer to fund the project.
During her first internship, Pauline worked with Mélaric, who introduced them to Françoise and Philippe Gourdon in Le Puy-Notre-Dame, who in turn had vines to lease.
They now work the parcels of Amandiers, 253 and Vigneaux.
The local Tuffeau (fossil-rich limestone) characterises the wines as well as the local architecture, vineyards typically being clay topsoil with Tuffeau underneath.
The weather systems coming in off the Atlantic are forced upwards by the Mauges hills to the West of Anjou. This causes a rain shadow which gives Saumur more of a continental climate. Le-Puy – being practically the most southerly point – averages less than 200mm/year. The elongated growing season this allows enables the wines to achieve ripeness.