What is terroir ? The definitions are numerous, and people do not necessarily always agree! However, when one works in close contact with nature, it becomes obvious that according to the geographical location, the type of soil, the orientation and climate, the same plant will grow in different ways and the hand of the winemaker will not be the same.
The Domaine Terre de l’Élu is located in Saint Aubin de Luigné in the heart of the Layon Valley, a small valley belonging to the appellation of the Loire Valley. Our vines grow on the outskirts of the village, between Chaume and Ardenay, on the right, south-facing side of the Layon river.
All of our vines grow on the Anjou noir territory. Anjou noir is the most easterly part of the Armorican massif: a geological massif of schist that joins the Paris Basin just east of Angers. Full of volcanic rocks, sandstones, quartz, the Anjou Noir evokes many colours too: silvery grey, anthracite, blues and browns typical of schist terroir. This clearly makes a distinction from the Anjou Blanc, characterised by calciferous limestone, which is the terroir of Saumur.
Our soils are characterised by their low capacity to retain water so winemakers favour the growth of cover crops and are obliged to cultivate their vines in such a way as to promote deep rooted growth.
Our vineyards stretch from south-east to south-west facing. In our northern climate in Anjou, it is preferable to have south-facing vineyards; this helps the grapes to achieve maturity despite the occasional exposure to cold and lack of direct sunlight.
Our little valley is at a crossroads of oceanic (Atlantic) and continental (Touraine) influences. The result is optimal precipitation levels, mainly western winds and mild temperatures in our valleys.
The effect of south-facing slopes accentuates this insolation, pushing the temperature up and drying the topsoil. The slopes of the Layon valley take on a Mediterranean feel. The somber colour of the soil and stone also helps to retain heat, which benefits the plants.
We have 6 terroirs on which we grow vines :
- Les Barres
- Les Bruandières
- Les Gaudumaux
- Les Vaux