Guide to the Loire regions


Grower Profiles

Domaine Bigonneau
It was Gérard Bigonneau’s father who bought Le Chagnat, a farm on the plain between the villages of Méreau and Brinay. A second, Le Bouchaud, is situated just on the northern periphery Reuilly. With around 250 hectares of land, the quietly-spoken Bigonneau considers himself to be an ‘average to large’ cereal farmer. He came to wine in the early 1990s at around the same time as other arable farmers were looking to diversify, although he claims his ancestors had always produced a couple of fûts a year for the family table.

His fellow vignerons in Reuilly still view him as something of an outsider (he lives at Le Chagnat), however his first foray into vines was here, establishing plantings at Le Bouchaud from scratch in 1992; this date being significant since it acknowledges Biognneau as the first Quincy producer to enter the rival appellation since its inception in 1937.

A year later, he bought existing vines in Quincy and became a founder member of the Cave Romane. The wines of Reuilly were to be vinified at the Chai de Reuilly.

In 2006, he consolidated his efforts and built a purpose built cellar on La Chagnat and brought in his daughter, Virginie to take control of production. Prior to this, Virginie had been the oenologue at the Cave Brinay, having studied in Dijon as well as having work experience in cellars in Champagne, Burgundy and Alsace.

There are now a total of 15 hectares of vines: nine hectares in Reuilly (split to 5 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc, 1.5ha of Pinot Gris and 2.5ha of Pinot Noir) and six hectares in Quincy; an average of one hectare each in Les Gravoches, Les Brosses, Clos de la Victoire, Les Coudereaux, Les Rimonés and La Vallée Major, which helps to mitigate the potential damage caused by frost or, more likely, hail.

Here, I need to divulge a commercial interest: I have worked with Bigonneaus since the 2002 vintage and have previously tasted their wines from tank in both Reuilly and Brinay. The consolidation to a single cellar and the arrival of Virginie, however, has brought about a real focus to the wines. Tasting in tank here is always a pleasure as the wines have precision and great definition. There is nothing complicated about the range; it essentially is composed of four wines: one each for the three appellations of Reuilly, plus a single expression of Quincy.

Sales are brisk and this is as good a place as any to prove that there is no crisis in these two appellations when it comes to finding a market for the wines. The Bigonneaus should be considered one of the leading producers in both Quincy and Reuilly.

It should also be noted that Gérard’s wife, Catherine, also runs two homely gîtes, which are to be found in the courtyard at Le Chagnat.

Domaine Bigonneau
Gérard et Catherine Bigonneau
La Chagnat
T: + 33 2 48 52 80 22
F: + 33 2 48 52 83 41


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