Meet the producers: Melanie & Aymeric Hillaire
Classically trained winemaking husband and wife duo Melanie and Aymeric returned to Saumur in 2006. Starting out by renting vines, then in 2008 purchasing the 4.5 hectares they farm today. Chenin, Cabernet Franc and Grolleau across four plots on the slope of Clos de Cerisae looking towards the village of Puy-Notre-Dame. Clos de Cerisaie are their older vines - 50-year-old, with Billes de Roche being the younger vines at 25 years. Soil is clay on limestone. Sulphur use is kept to a minimum.
Melanie Hunin and Aymeric Hillaire
4.5 hectares, organic
COUNTRY, REGION, SUBREGION
France, Loire, Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame
Melanie, from Paris, and Aymeric, from Saumur, are first generation winemakers; they met while studying at the Agronomic School of Montpellier. In 2006, they established Domaine Melaric (a weaving of their names) at the Chateau de Baugé, near the village of Puy-Notre-Dame. Their first two vintages were from rented vineyards and some additional purchased grapes. In 2008, they purchased four hectares of vineyards in Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame with advice from Philippe Gourdon (Château Tour Grise).
The vineyards of Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame are in an extension of the Layon Valley, and the chalk hills provide the shallow soils, good drainage and exposure required by late ripening varieties like Chenin. This area marks the transition from the sedimentary rocks of the Paris basin (limestone Saumur) and the metamorphic of the Armorican Basin (Anjou schist).
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.