Antoine Vivier, La Tour Saint Jean (2003)

Antoine Vivier is a part time vigneron and full time export salesman for a Danish chemical company. Until 2000, he was living with his wife, Jeanne and their three (now four) children in Paris, although he craved a career change. The opportunity came when his uncle, Jean-Yves Bourdage was looking to take in a partner. Vivier gave up his job and relocated, creating La Tour Saint-Jean, naming it after the old presbytery that the family bought in the centre of Rochefort-sur-Loire following the retirement of the local Pastor. Essentially self taught, Vivier, who had studied agriculture at college enrolled for a six month crash course in oenology at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in Angers and put together a small cave on the Quai de Louet in Rochefort. Bourdage has a significant three hectare holding in the Quarts-de-Chaume, and this is what Vivier had intended to farm with his uncle. However, in his own words, he ‘came for the Quarts-de-Chaume and discovered Savennières’.  His first vintage in the appellation was in 2003 and came from vines he rented from Baron Brincard. However, financial pressures and some differences of opinion with his uncle meant that Vivier needed to reduce his commitments and he rejoined his old company. Today he maintains a total of five hectares, including 1.7 hectares in Savennières. He has also patched up his relationship with his uncle which allows him to juggle his day job with a real passion for wine.

Wine Overview:  
Vivier’s first vintage in Savennières was something of a baptism of fire: 2003 was the year of the heat wave and where some managed to pick the harvest in a single trie, Vivier, unsure of his actions, went through the vineyard ten times! All the wines here are fermented in old 400 litre barrels using indigenous yeasts and aged for 24 months before bottling.

The Wines:  
The 2006 and 2007 tasted as barrel samples show promise, although there is the impression that Vivier’s success here is more attributable to luck than to any real winemaking abilities. These are quite solid wines and very modern in style. Despite becoming a part time vigneron, his Savennières are still worth seeking out.

2005 Savennières  
Pale appearance. Very attractive, aromatic and fragrant nose of candy floss and honeycomb. Dry on entry with good minerality. Honeyed with good oak integration. There is a good backbone of acidity behind the fruit. This is already approachable and attractive now, but the structure suggests it will evolve well in bottle. Picked with 30% botrytis. (02/08)

2004 Savennières    
Mid depth. Some green hints. Dry, steely and good minerality on the nose and shows no obvious sign of wood. The palate is quite lean and not currently very expressive. Taut, but a little monotone, although retains good texture on the mid palate. Minty. Good length, but lacks a bit of acidity. This is currently closed up, but should evolve. Drink 3-5 years. (02/08)

2003 Savennières  
Picked with 50% botrytis. Polished. Yellow/gold. Deep appearance. Rich and concentrated on both nose and palate. The oak is a bit planky. Broad on entry and lacks balancing acidity. Flabby and fat. Unlikely to age further. (02/08)

Antoine Vivier  
La Tour St Jean  

T: +33 2 41 74 92 05  
F: +33 41 74 92 0502


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