The 23ha of Domaine Tessier are nestled in centre of the Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny appellations in the Loire Valley. Established in 1961 by Roger Tessier, the domaine’s vineyards have been farmed by his son Phillippe under his eponymous label since 1981. Philippe is one of the most respected producers in this part of the Loire and has a long reputation for producing honest wines full of energy and life. In France Philippe shares a reputation equal to Hervé Villemade or Thierry Puzelat, the other well-known natural producers of his region.
Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny are located in the Touraine in the Loire Valley about 60 kms east of Tours. Cheverny Blanc is Sauvignon Blanc dominant with Chardonnay and Menu Pineau while Cheverny Rouge is built around Gamay with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Cot to compliment. Menu Pineau is a rare variety that has undergone a renaissance in the Loire thanks largely to natural wine stalwart Thierry Puzelat. Cour-Cheverny is reserved exclusively for Romorantin, a noble variety formerly of Burgundy and capable of producing wines reminiscent of Chablis. This is the edge of the wine growing area for the Loire Valley proper. Bordered by the forests of Cheverny, Chambord and Sologne, the microclimate is cool and temperate producing wines with tension and vibrancy. A combination of soil types that sit atop the limestone bedrock ensure freshness and minerality is present in all the region’s wines.
Philippe has been at the helm of Domaine Tessier since 1981, where his main goal is to produce honest, sincere and enjoyable wines that speak of their origin and natural balance. The vines benefit from biodiversity; encouraged by grassing in between the rows and strictly no chemical input. Across the Domaine you will find the usual Loire suspects: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Côt but also Romorantin and L’Orbois. The former was originally a Burgundian variety but it is now exclusively grown in and labelled as Cour-Cheverny. L’Orbois, also known as. Philippe blends the native Orbois with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to make his utterly delicious Cheverny Blanc.
Philippe’s vines have been certified organic since 1998 and he treats the vineyards with maximum respect, working the soil or treating according to the requirements of the vineyard not a recipe. He harvests exclusively by hand, rare in his part of the Loire, into crates so that the grapes can be sorted before being processed.
To continue the same spirit used in the vineyards, minimal intervention is used in the winery with no added yeasts or sulphites during production. He ferments and ages his wines in a wide selection of vessels and materials and even has some Georgian qvevri installed in the winery; we knew we were in the right place when we spotted those in the cellar. Philippe believes in making the technical analysis of each wine available online so that anyone consuming the wine can know exactly what they are drinking. This transparency comes through faith and knowledge of the journey from grape to glass, where the life of the soil, local environment and vine are respected equally. It is Philippe’s philosophy that his artisanal wines should give the drinker pleasure but also be healthy, alive and natural. We know exactly what he means - their vibrancy and purity is evident in the glass!