Guide to the Loire regions

Côte Roannaise

Grower Profiles


Michel Desormière & Fils
The Desormière’s cellar sits on a road up behind the village of Renaison, the church spire clearly visible from the house. Michel and Marie-Jo started bottling their own wines from their original 2.5 hectare vineyard in 1974. Prior to this, Michel’s father had simply sold the wines en-vrac to numerous restaurants. Things might have changed, but their most celebrated client remains Paul Bocuse who lists their wines in his Lyon brasserie. The Desormière’s have two sons: Éric joined his father in 1996 (by which point the domaine had been extended to 10 hectares) whilst Thierry arrived in 2004 after working a stage elsewhere. They have been acquiring neighbouring parcels of land and vineyards ever since. 

The domaine now stands at 15 hectares and is split between Renaison, where all the vines are owned, and Saint-André where they rent four hectares. Between 1990 and 2000 Michel planted vines in Perdrizière, a former walled vineyard that sits on a gentle south facing slope between the communes of Renaison and Saint-André-d’Apchon. Now fully planted, this 3.73 hectare lieu-dit goes to produce the domaines fruité cuvée. Montalivet, another lieu-dit of 2.22 hectares, is on a stony granite soil and sits high above the village. The vines here are an average age of 45 years old.

La Bruyère, acquired in 2004, produced its first vintage in 2008. In addition to the Gamay, the family have one hectare of Chardonnay, planted for Vin de Pays in 2001 and 2006. Everything here is hand harvested.

The cellar is a modern annex at the side of the house which also accommodates their tasting room. The wines are all fermented, using cultured yeasts, and aged in cement tanks. Their well made and mineral rosé, which represents about one-eighth of their production, is produced by the saignée method and goes through malolactic fermentation. There are currently four red wines within the range, including the two lieu-dit wines of Perdrizière (produced in a fruité style) and Montalivet, macerated for between 8 to 10 days, this is their cuvée corsé. The ‘Tradition’ is the original bottled wine that dates back to 1974. The fruit for this comes from various parcels and receives a maceration of 6 to 8 days to produce another early drinking wine. Finally, ‘Les Têtes’, the first vintage of which was released in 2000, is from vines of between 60 and 90 years of age, and includes fruit from Saint-André and within Montalivet. This receives a cuvaison of 10 to 12 days in order to give the resulting wine some potential to age.

From relatively modest beginnings, this has become one of the largest and most important producers in the Côte Roannaise, producing around 80,000 bottles a year. There is a sense of professionalism throughout their operation and they have a clear set of objectives going forward. The wines could be improved a little to make them a little more friendly, but they should certainly be considered within the top echelons of the appellation.

Michel Desormière
Le Perron
T: + 33 4 77 64 48 55
F: + 33 4 77 62 12 73

Back to top