Julie and Toby Bainbridge live in the village of Chavagnes les Eaux which is a short drive south from the city of Angers and have been making wines from around 4.5 hectares of vines that he owns around that village. Their wines have certainly made people sit up and take notice.
They were included in the sailing of the brigantine Tres Hombres when it carried 10 tons of French wine from Brest to Copenhagen under sail for delivery to the world’s most famous restaurant, NOMA as well as some of our other favourites such as Relae and Manfreds & Vin.
All their white wines are bottled in clear Champagne bottles and are capped with crown seals. The clear bottles are used so that you can see the colour of the wine and the crown seals are to eliminate the possibility of cork taint.
The Champagne bottles might sound expensive, however they are using recycled bottles that are left over when the Champagne houses bottle their magnums from two 750 ml bottles which are always used for maturing the wine and for their riddling machines.
Julie and Toby Bainbridge Vin de France Girl on Fire 2020
This is a very limited edition with less than 1000 bottles of this cuvée being produced. The Girl on Fire is a lightly sparkling wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes made in the style of a rosé.
The Cabernet Franc grapes were hand harvested by a team led by Julie Bainbridge. The base wine was fermented to dryness using the indigenous yeasts that were on the grapes.
The wine then underwent a further fermentation kicked off by the addition of 8 grams per litre of sugar. The amount of carbon dioxide created was very low so it is sparkling but a low amount.
This light pink beauty is a very moorish drink which you can enjoy at any time of day as an aperitif. And when we say any time of day, this is a perfect breakfast wine! When we were tasting it for the first time “white peaches” kept cropping up in the discussion, which is a compliment!
Julie is donating 1 euro for each bottle sold to Solidarite Femmes which assists women who are the victims of violence. You can see the logo for this organisation attached to the label above on the right.
Julie and Toby Bainbridge Vin de France Rouge aux Levres 2020
This wine is made from the red Grolleau Noir (aka Groslot Noir) grape that is only found at this end of the Loire Valley and rarely seen as a single variety. The grapes were hand harvested from two parcels – one of younger vines planted in2009 on iron-rich soil and the other from newly acquired older vines on calcium rich soils.
The grapes underwent three weeks of whole bunch semi-carbonic maceration (the juice is not drained so both carbonic and alcoholic fermentation occur).
Toby does not like to add carbon dioxide so uses a double lidded system in the tank to trap the ambient gas. The wine shows very fresh berry aromas and flavours, soft tannins and lots of juicy goodness. It tastes very fresh. The wine has a little carbon dioxide in it as a preservative so you might detect a bit of ‘fizz’ at the beginning when the glass is first poured.
The grapes used here are a blend from two different vineyards. One comprised young vines planted in 2009 in iron rich soil and which is in organic conversion. The other vineyard has older vines of around 20 years of age which has calcium rich soils and which is certified organic by Bureau Veritas.
This is a beautifully structured wine which exhibits considerable charm which is only 10.5% alcohol.
Julie and Toby Bainbridge Vin de France Les Jongleurs 2020
This is a dry Chenin Blanc made from two separate parcels (one with older vines and one with younger vines) from near Faye d’Anjou where the soil is sandy and younger vines also with sandy soil.
The grapes were hand harvested, pressed directly and then fermented with indigenous yeasts only. The juice was transferred to fibreglass tanks for maturation.
Old vine Chenin is a real treat as there is a complexity in the wine that cannot be achieved from young vines. There are hints of stonefruit (we think apricot is closest) in this wine.
The vineyards are certified organic by Bureau Veritas.
The wine is quite dry and is low in alcohol at only 12 percent. This is an excellent wine particularly when you consider the price.
Julie and Toby Bainbridge Vin de France Highway.8 2013
The Highway.8 is a 100% Cabernet Franc made in the same genre as the Golleau Noir. It is fresh, lively and eminently drinkable.
The Anjou district of the Loire Valley is some of the best terroir for the production of wines from Cabernet Franc. The southern exposure of Toby’s vineyards means that the grapes get plenty of sun during the vital ripening time.
Remember that it is packaged in clear bottles and is sealed with a crown seal.
RRP: SOLD OUT
Julie and Toby Bainbridge Vin de France “L’Acrobate” Rose Sec 2014
The l’Acrobate is a dry rose wine made from the Grolleau (Groslot) grape variety that is a lesser known grape in the Anjou area, but one that the locals love. This wine is made from a very special parcel of Grolleau vines that are between 85 years old up to over 100 years old. The vines thrive in red clay and schist soils.
We were stunned when we tried this rose out of the tank – it was beautiful!
The grapes were pressed and then left on their skins for only two hours to develop the colour. The result is a very pleasant, light, dry rose with an appealing, slightly “bitter herb” touch on the finish.
This wine represents very good value for money at this price.
RRP: SOLD OUT