Julie & Toby Bainbridge
Julie and Toby have been based in Anjou now for nearly two decades after making the move from Julie’s home town in the USA, Oklahoma, where the pair first met. Toby, in fact an emigrant from our own isles, was working on Julie’s parents farm and after their relationship blossomed they decided to move to the Loire to pursue a career in wine. After a short stint working for Didier Chaffardon, Toby took on a position working in the vineyards of another Anjou icon, René Mosse, a position he held even after they started their own domaine in 2012. Since then they have built their own cellar in Chavagnes-les-Eaux and amassed just over 8 hectares of land, with about 6.5ha currently under vine. The usual suspects are grown on calcium-rich, drought resistant soils, with a focus on Grolleau (or Groslot as it is called locally) but also small holdings of Chenin Blanc and some Cabernet Franc. Whilst Julie and Toby are both clearly skilled in the cellar, the hard work is done in the field, with care and attention to respect the land - all their vineyards are worked organically, with biodynamic principles also employed.
In their own words the aim is to make light and straightforward wines which offer pleasure and refreshment in their simplicity. These are not wines to be aged or contemplated profoundly, hence the recycled champagne bottles and crown caps, but enjoyed for what they are. To that end, in the cellar, macerations are generally short and neutral vessels are always used, whether fibreglass or stainless steel.