Les Jardins de la Martinière


The domaine in Coutures just outside Angers, which is now named Les Jardins de la Martinière, has been producing wine as far back as the 18th century. In more recent times, however, Xavier Caillard (Les Jardins Esmeraldins) is the one who has made the biggest impact after he bought the domaine in 2014. The abandoned vineyards were in terrible condition, but he and his wife turned this upside down with an extreme amount of hard work and an ambitious natural approach. In 2018, however, they chose to sell the domaine to their Japanese importer, and today, Kaya Tsutsui, who is the owner’s grandson, is responsible for the daily work in collaboration with Ludovic Joly. None other than Hirotake Ooka (Domaine la Grande Colline) also works as a consultant in both the vineyards and the cellar, which further strengthens the French-Japanese connection.

In total, Les Jardins de la Martinière consists of 11 hectares. Five of them are orchards and the remaining six are vineyards that are surrounded by an enchanting landscape of woods and hills. The vineyards mainly consist of 20 to 70-year-old vines with Cabernet Franc and Chenin, but also newer vines with Grolleau Noir, Pinot d’Aunis and Grolleau Gris. Under the expert guidance of Hirotake Ooka, the work in the vineyard is carried out organically (although the wines are not) and with great care in respect for and in harmony with nature.

The grapes are hand-harvested at different times to allow them to reach different degrees of ripeness, which gives more complexity to the wines. The white wines ferment and are stored in oak barrels, and the reds ferment in steel tanks or fiberglass, after which they are stored in oak barrels for at least one year. The wines are then mixed in steel tanks and rest for another year before being bottled completely without the use of sulphur or other additives.

The wines from Les Jardins de la Martinière are produced with lots of patience and Japanese precision. They are acidic and mineral, trembling with energy while possessing an extreme amount of complexity and personality. The wines are produced in very small quantities, and there will not be enough for everyone, but if you get hold of a bottle, patience will be a virtue, as the wine will only get better over time.

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