You could say that outside France Pinot Noir is the Loire’s best kept secret. Pinot Noir flourishes here and used to cover the hillsides a century or so ago. Sancerre is renowned for its Sauvignon Blancs but red Sancerre is always made with Pinot. Nowadays white grapes take centre stage but light, crisp Pinot Noirs from the Loire are starting to attract attention. These pure, vibrant reds have an excellent ambassador in Domaine Rethore Davy. This is an ancient vineyard rejuvenated by Martine and Christopher Rethore and their cousin Jean-Michel Davy. It lies in Saint Remy en Mauges in the old province of Anjou. Mauges is a historical region that sits on a plateau of schist and granite; Domaine Rethore Davy nestles high on the slopes of the deep valleys of the River Evre (a tributary of the Loire) that crosses through the area.
The estate’s four slopes offer four different soils and the Pinot Noir is grown on the plots La Cleterie, Les Pres and Les Gaffieres which are formed of weathered schist and quartz. These plots express the characteristics of the grape to their best advantage and Le Chapitre is a nod to the separate parcels of vines that thrive on these soils (Chapitre means ‘Chapter’, as in the part of a book or treatise). This understanding of the land and environment coupled with a passion for wine and excellence have resulted in a host of awards for Domaine Rethore Davy.
Le Chapitre is an excellent Pinot and is very versatile with food. Thanks to its bright acidity, complexity and fruitiness it pairs well with rich braised meats, mushroom dishes, smoked meats, roast poultry – duck, guinea fowl, chicken and turkey, as well as belly pork and tenderloin. It marries well with grilled fish too, if kept around 12° – 14°C. It’s delicious with salmon, skewered red mullet and stuffed mackerel.