After graduating viticultural school, François Chidaine began working along his father, Yves, in the Loire Valley. A few years after working together, François’ father decided to retire. He passed on 4 hectares of vines in Touraine to his son. Thrilled to have some land of his own, François began spending the majority of his time amongst his vines converting his vineyards to organic viticulture and eventually biodynamic. The domaine became DEMETER certified biodynamic in 2003.
While the majority of François’ work happens in Montlouis-sur-Loire, his domaine has slowly expanded throughout the Loire. A monumental shift happened in 2002 when François traveled across the river to Vouvray and rented the unofficial Loire “Grand Cru” vineyard, Clos Baudoin, which he officially purchased in 2006. Momentum quickly took stride as the domaine is now comprised of 37 hectares spread across the central Loire Valley: 20 hectares in Montlouis, 10 hectares in Vouvray, and 7 hectares in Touraine. Working in Touraine has allowed the domaine to expand beyond Chenin Blanc as François is farming Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Grolleau, Cabernet Franc, Côt, and Pineau d’Aunis.
François has grown into an iconic status in his town as one of the masters of biodynamic viticulture. Yields are kept low as old vines surpass 80 years of age and “young vines” average around 30 years old. All vineyard work is done by hand and with delicate skill.
In the cellar, François believes in gentle pressings and only wild yeast. He works with a combination of stainless steel, French oak barrels and demi-muids. All alcoholic fermentation is slow and malolactic fermentation is avoided. François encourages extended lees contact and minimal sulfur use.