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Country of Origin: France
Location: Jasnières, Loire Valley
People: Jean-Pierre Robinot, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Jean-Pierre first discovered his love of wine when he was 22 years old with a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1964 and from that moment on he became incredibly passionate, even obsessive about wine. In the late 1980’s Jean-Pierre’s met Jules Chauvet and Marcel Lapierre and this proved to be his moment of revelation. That meeting changed Jean-Pierre’s perception of what was or could be. Soon after that he opened L'Ange Vin, which was one of Paris’ first wine bars that served only natural wine. He then created the magazine “Le Rouge et Blanc” with critic Michel Bettane when he was in his early 30’s. “Le Rouge et Blanc” has gone on to be internationally renowned and considered to be a bible of information on natural wine growers in France.
After 12 years of running the wine bar and the magazine Jean-Pierre decided that the only way to truly understand natural wine was to begin making it himself. In 2001 he started his own winery in Chahaignes, his native village in the Loire. Still running his wine bar in Paris met travelling to and from the winery whenever he had a free moment, resulting in a cuvee he has jokingly referred to as “Cuvee TGV”, named after the high speed train he took between Paris and the Loire during this time.
After this first vintage Jean-Pierre made the decision to close the restaurant and move his family to Chahaignes. He quickly began to acquire plots of land surrounding his home and planting vines of Pineau d”Aunis, Chenin Blanc and Gamay. He also owns or rents 5 different cellars that are carved into the hills around his winery, each containing dozens of barrels in various states of fermentation.
Robinot’s wine can take a long time to ferment, generally 2 to 4 years, but sometimes even more. He believes in letting wines stay in their old oak barrels until fermentation is complete, he is in no rush and is fascinated by the changes that the wines go through during this time. To the outsider Robinot’s process may seem like total chaos, but he knows every barrel and the wine contained within like the back of his hand. Adding to the confusion, The labels on each wine are changed every year, sometimes based on his daughters or his own paintings or manipulated photographs, but they are always identifiable as Robinot’s.
He currently makes two different lines, "Domaine de L'Ange Vin" wines are made from grapes grown on his own vineyards, and "L'Opera des Vins" wine which are made from the grapes he purchases from nearby vignerons; both wines are made without sulfur or any other interventions. His current production is 20,000 bottles per year.Media Links
Wine Terrors: L'Ange Vin
Food & Wine: Natural Wine: Weird or Wonderful?
LeDom du Vin: Jean-Pierre Robinot Vins Naturels
DevenishWinesGeek: Jean Pierre Robinot Natural Wine in Jasnieres