Domaine de la Paleine is a 32-hectare vineyard on the outskirts of the village of Puy-Notre-Dame which now boasts its own, stand-alone appellation – Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame. The vineyards are mostly planted to Chenin and Cabernet Franc on clay-limestone soils. Grass cover is used to encourage the vines to put deep roots down into the tufa rock whose unique qualities allow both vines and grapes to thrive. Tufa rock acts like a sponge, soaking up excess water in the winter and then reproducing it sparingly when the vines need it.
Marc and Laurence Vincent, more accustomed to life in Paris than the countryside, fell in love with the region and bought this magnificent property. They have successfully led it down the road to success, mainly by continuing to work with head winemaker Patrick Nivelleau. He makes all their wines which then mature peacefully at a consistent temperature of 12°C in the 1.5 kilometres of cellars hewn into the tufa sub-soil in Puy Notre Dame. They have also undertaken a venture they felt very strongly about – converting the estate to organic. This was officially confirmed in 2013, after they had entirely renovated the winery in 2005.
The strong bond between the threesome and their success is mirrored in their top quality wines and a consistency whose only change is vintage variation. The Maison Cassée label is no exception. This racy, single varietal Cabernet Franc is entitled to use the recently established Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame appellation, attesting to its otherwise self-evident quality. This year we tasted the dry white Saumur Préludes which is rich, delicious and complex and complements the rest of the range wonderfully.
This is a very endearing wine estate driven by one, very straightforward philosophy: to make the best possible wines whilst letting sense of place shine through. This is probably one of the keys to the success and archetypal features of Domaine de la Paleine’s wines.