Julie and Toby Bainbridge

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 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.

Julie and Toby Bainbridge Vin de France Cuvée Brit Pop 2018


Julie and Toby Bainbridge in 2018 produced a pet nat called Brit Pop that we immediately fell in love with.

It was bottled with only 7 grams of residual sugar which is quite low. Some of our producers bottle at 30 grams. The downside of higher sugar, however, is that more carbon dioxide will be produced and therefore there is a greater risk of the bottle exploding.

This wine is made from 100% Grolleau Noir, a grape variety that is popular in the Anjou area.

This is a very pleasant pet nat that will be excellent for the remainder of summer – it arrived in Australia in mid February. Toby has added a tiny amount of sulphites to this sparkling wine.


Bainbridge and Cathcart Vin de France Rouge aux Levres 2015


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 varietal. The very old vines thrive in red clay and schist 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 vines are very old (at least 85 years and some possibly over 100 years old) giving rise to a beautifully structured wine which exhibits considerable charm.


Bainbridge and Cathcart Vin de France Les Jongleurs 2015

Bainbridge and Cathcart Les Jongleurs

This is a dry Chenin Blanc made from 60 year old vines covering just 0.14 hectare from near Faye d’Anjou where the soil is sandy.

Old vine Chenin is a real treat as there is a complexity in the wine that cannot be achieved from young vines.

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.


Bainbridge and Cathcart Vin de France Highway.8 2013

Bainbridge Highway.8

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.


Bainbridge and Cathcart 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.