Robin Yapp shipped wine from Armand Bizard at Château d'Epiré in 1970 and today we are delighted to be working with his grandson Paul almost half a century after that first tentative order. The family have cultivated Chenin Blanc vines here on the hills south-west of Angers since 1875 and today preside over 11 hectares of vines in 5 distinct plots with diverse soils of mica, schist, gneiss and granite giving an enviably broad base of fruit to work with. The principal wine, that is bottled simply as 'Château d' Epiré', is dry and complex with scents of honeysuckle, wild flowers and orchard fruit and a persistent palate underscored by a nervy minerality. It benefits from 2-3 years bottle age and will cellar well for a decade or more.
When favourable weather conditions prevail, inducing Botrytis Cinerea or 'Noble Rot', the Bizards also produce a superb, sweet Savennières 'Moelleux'. It has much the same complexity and concentration as the dry wine but (at least) 17 grams of residual sugar making for a richly-honeyed wine that can be enjoyed as a decadent bonne bouche or partner to fruit-based desserts. It can mature gracefully for decades if properly cellared.
The 'jewel in the crown' at Savennières is, indubitably, the 'monopole' sub-appellation of 'Coulée de Serrant'. Here the Joly family farms 7 hectares of vines by strict bio-dynamic methodology. Typically, the finished wine has diverse aromas and flavours of russet apples, honey, dried pear, fennel and white pepper offset by a lively acidity and a persistent finish. It comes into its own at 3-5+ years of age and mature vintages are highly sought after by sommeliers and private collectors.