Guide to the Loire regions

Orléans and Orléans-Cléry

Grower Profiles

Les 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 decrepit 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.

Wine Overview :
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.

The Wines :
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.

Sylvie Genevier
Les Vignerons de la Grand’ Maison
550 Route des Muids
T : + 33 2 38 45 61 08
F : + 33 2 38 45 65 70

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