LES ATHLETES DU VIN
Sustainable and Organic farming
“Les Athletes du Vin” is a collective of some of finest organic Loire Valley producers. Established in 2016, their objective is to make great value wines for wine lovers across the world, highlighting the appellations and grape varietals that contribute to the diversity and beauty of the Loire valley.
Each of these producers have vineyards in all the corners of the Loire Valley region, they farm their vineyards and vinified each cuvee separately and collectively share the logistics and the sales of the wines. In true collective manner, they also share insights in to winemaking techniques, and seek feedback from each other on their wines. In fact, long lunches often accompany robust tastings - after all this is where their name comes from “Les Athletes du Vin”: the champion of the elbow rising (with moderation of course)!
The ‘Athletes’ all share the same philosophy. Maximum care is taken with farming practices, which includes hand harvesting vines from 10 to 120 years old. In the winery, it’s all about minimal intervention, using natural yeast for fermentation, stainless steel, concrete and old oak along with minimum sulphur addition and light or no filtration depending of the cuvee. They aim to make delicious and real wine. What started as only 3 wines; a Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a Pinot Noir is now a range of 15 wines including Touraine to Chinon, Grolleau and Pineau d’Aunis.
Naturally, a group of dynamic winemakers were set on creating wine labels to reflect the spirit of their endeavours. And when the time came, only one name would do - Michel Tolmer. Who else than Tolmer, brilliant cartoon creator of ‘Mimi, Fifi et Glouglou’, and leading illustrator for the French “Natural Wine” movement. His style and imagination made him the perfect choice to capture each of the grapes and appellations of the Loire Valley.
The collective of “Athletes” include:
Gérald is based in Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, where he makes AOC wines Cabernet Franc from Chinon and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. He also produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir from Touraine.
Florent in the Saint-Pourçain area produces Chardonnay and Gamay, an area stylistically close to Beaujolais.
Jean-Pierre in the Côte de Grand-Lieu in Muscadet area produces ‘Mumu-Chardonnay’, a blend of Melon de Bourgogne and Chardonnay.
Antoine is based in Menetou-Salon and produces a Pinot Noir and a Sauvignon Blanc
Sylvain makes the Coteaux du Layon
Marius the Pouilly-Fumé
Jean-François in Touraine makes the Pineau d’Aunis
Nicolas the Saumur-Champigny
Victor the Grolleau.
Most of the single varietals wines are Vin de France or IGP Val de Loire, not that we care about what’s written on the bottle – it’s what’s inside the bottle that counts, and these wines are spectacular value!