ALEXANDRE BAIN, Pouilly-Fumé
Alexandre's grandfather was a farmer who passed along his passion for the land to Alexandre when he was just a child. It was fitting then, when at the age of 18, he decided to go to winemaking school in Beaune to study oenology. After working in different vineyards, he bought a few hectares of vines in Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire Valley in 2007. When he met his new neighbor, Sébastien Riffault in Sancerre, he discovered they both shared a similar vision of wine. Alexandre and Sébastien each tend their land biodynamically, work with horses (Alexandre's horse is named Phenomene) and make wines with minimal intervention. Alexandre chooses to make natural wine because, according to him, it is the most authentic product of terroir that he can share with consumers. It is not altered by chemicals and sulfites which obscure all the work he does in the vineyard. The estate has now grown to 11 ha, producing 50,000 bottles/year. Even as his production increases, Alexandre is committed to doing 100% of the work in the vineyard with Phenomene and does not want to add any sulfur to his wines. The style of the wine could be compared to Riffault's wines. Indeed they both seek the best ripeness of Sauvignon Blanc by picking the grapes much later than the rest of the producers of the region. The wines are quite different from a classic Pouilly-Fumé style-- richer, more aromatic and dense. This difference is deceiving though because, as Alexandre says, his wines are pure expressions of his terroir and the Sauvignon Blanc variety, nothing added and nothing taken away.