Marc Angeli of La Ferme de la Sansonnière is a gifted winemaker and passionate exponent of natural wine production. Indeed, his disdain for the French government's attitude to wine regulation is such that he has declassified his entire output as 'Produit de France'. His wine labels don't help give much sense of geography either as they state Marc's address as being Thouarcé - 'queleque part en France'.
In fact this celebrated estate lies some 20 kilometres due south of Angers, in the heart of Anjou. The problem isn’t finding Marc on the map, it is persuading him to give us an allocation – yields here are low and there is strong demand for his tiny production around the globe.
Marc and his wife Christine arrived at Domaine de la Sansonnière in 1990 having moved from Aix-en-Provence. He studied stonemasonry but was always interested in winemaking. He trained in Sauternes and began farming his 12-hectare estate biodynamically after his friendship with Nicolas Joly blossomed.
Although Marc’s vine holdings lie firmly within the appellation boundaries of Anjou, he has decided to demote all of his wines to humble ‘Vin de Table’ status in protest against the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine’s failure to reduce the use of pesticides and decrease permitted grape yields.
The Angelis try to be as self-sufficient as possible, and 4 hectares of their estate are given to non-wine crops - with a small herd of cows for compost, meat and milk for cheese, bees for honey and a vegetable patch.