Pierre Plouzeau was a visionary man who, in his all-too-short life, created a negociant business like no other while running his own two domaines as well. His sons, François and Marc, are worthy successors, both firmly committed to the rigorous joys of bio-dynamic farming. Marc, who took over the family’s historic Chinon property, Ch. de la Bonnelière, also functions as a négociant, working with a small number of top-quality growers to produce a range of dependable Loire classics.
As always, the Chinon terroir yields a wine long on minerality that transcends the Sauvignon (whereas Delaunay’s example, for instance, exalts it). Unapologetically dry and serious wine for rock-hounds. Good with oysters.
The ever-restless Marc bought another estate in 2014 near Ligré. Les Lisons is a 2.5 hectare parcel grown on clay soils, a fact to which this wine’s rugged strength is testimony. The sanguine, iron-rich palate is a distinctive and contrasting expression of Chinon’s possibilities, but Marc’s sure hand eliminates any hint of coarseness. This is a really exceptional wine at a price that is frankly silly for the elevated quality. We see a sunny future for La Croix Marie.
Those who followed the long-running Devants de la Bonnelière Touraine Rosé will know what a deft hand Marc has with rosé wine. This latest example is a step-up appellation-wise and offers the familiar thrill of Cabernet Franc gone pink. Poised between earth and fruit, it presents a drier, tangier and arguably more food-friendly rendition of the genre than is typical in France.