to the Loire regions
Vignerons de la Grand’ Maison
Established in 1931, the co-operative is responsible for
vinifying around three-quarters of the wines of the region and represents
the interests of 28 coopérateurs.
At the peak of production in the early 1970s, the cellar was running at
full capacity, processing 21,000 hectolitres of wine a year and had well
over 100 members. It is a classic 1930s co-operative, built on the edge of
the village of Mareau-aux-Près, an ugly, but functional
box of a building, full of subterreanean concrete tanks. Today, it
accommodates less than one third of its capacity, which helps to
illustrate the decline of the regions vineyards. The current members are
all polyculturalists, growing cereals and also delivering fruit, primarily
apples and pears, to other co-operatives close by. The usual 80/20 rule
applies, with ten of the 28 growers delivering 80% of the total crop.
Despite the old and somewhat
appearance, the wines are made by a young team. Newly married Sylvie
Genevier moved to the region with her husband, a native of Orléans, after
gaining experience in the cellars of Châteaux Suduiraut and Branaire,
whilst winemaker Vincent Delaby, who arrived for the 2005 vintage, is the
son of a caviste in Lille.
The co-op receives grapes from a total of 111 hectares of
vines, and of the 5,000 hl produced, 3,000 is sold under the appellation
Orléans or Orléans-Cléry ; the balance, 2ha of Sauvignon Blanc,
18ha of Gamay (which is sold off to the négoce)
and a single hectare of Cabernet Franc are bottled as Vin de Pays. They
are responsible for 19 of the total 28 hectares of Orléans-Cléry
hectares produced; all of which comes from Cabernet Franc. Their sales are
exclusively on the French market, with about 80% being in the immediate
locality. They sell 80,000 of wine a year, but a total of 40% of all the
production is sold as bag-in-box or en-vrac.
Wine Overview :
There are two ranges here for the appellation Orléans and
Orléans-Cléry. The generic range, being raised in the 250hl concrete
tanks. Both the Orléans red and rosé come from a blend of between 70%
and 80% Pinot Meunier. The white wines are 100% Chardonnay. The prestige
range, under the label Sans Complexe,
all see some time in older wood ; ex Burgundy barrels for the
Chardonnay and barrels from Branaire for the reds.
These are competent
wines, worthy of the appellation, although they are unlikely to spark much
interest beyond the immediate region. The basic wines are more honest and
perhaps representative of what Orléans should be producing. The oak aged
wines are something of a novelty, but lack any real point of difference in
a world awash with simple wooded Chardonnay.
Les Vignerons de la Grand’ Maison
550 Route des Muids
T : + 33 2 38 45 61 08
F : + 33 2 38 45 65 70