Saumur, Loire Valley, France
Located just outside Saumur, in the Loire Valley, Domaine Bobinet is Émeline and Sébastien. In 2002, Sébastien inherited from his grandparents two hectares of old-vines estate, that he has since expanded to seven. The decision to work organically was imperative, especially under the influence of his early mentor Olivier Cousin. In 2007, his need for experimentation and interest in carbonic maceration led him to Bernard Pontonnier. In 2011, his partner Emeline, a previous professional dancer and then trained sommelier, joined him in the Domaine. With their collaboration, the domaine took on a new dimension and asserts itself as a solid value for natural wines made in the Loire region.
Today, Emeline is mainly responsible for the vinification, and Sebastien manages the entire viticulture part.
Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wine. What’s the difference?
To understand this concept and its various ramifications, it is necessary to keep something clear in mind: before the 20th century and the spreading of affordable synthetic fertilisers, all farming was organic. When the shift to the use of synthetics and pesticides happened, it became necessary to diversify traditional organic farming from the new modern farming.
Simply put, organic farming forbids the use of synthetic fertilisers, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. The basic requirements are generally specific and engage the farmers not to use any chemical fertilisers and other synthetic products in the vineyard. It does not prevent the vintner from using the conventional winemaking process after harvesting.
Let’s take organic farming one step further: Biodynamic. The creator of this agricultural system is the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who developed the principles of biodynamics in a series of lectures given in 1924 in Germany. Here lies the foundation of true organic wines, with a strict limit in the use of additives, stringent requirements and at the end obtaining a biodynamic certification.
The previous definitions are usually, and rightfully, associated with it, because most natural wine is also organic and/or biodynamic. But not vice versa!
Natural wine is wine in its purest form, simply described as nothing added, nothing taken away, just grapes fermented. No manipulation whatsoever, minimal intervention both in the vineyards and in the winery. Healthy grapes, natural yeast and natural fermentation, with no filtration nor fining. Sounds easy, right? However, making natural wine is unforgiving and it requires a bigger amount of work than conventional wine. To this day, natural wine has no certification yet.