In Latin means EARTH...
Didier Richou became a partner in 1979 with his parents Henri and Gisèle. In 1993, his brother Damien took over from their parents. Didier was in charge of vinification when Damien supervised the vine growing methods. This association has enabled the domaine to keep the quality level constantly evolving.
In 2009, the domaine converted to organic farming to rapidly increase the level of restitution of the terroir. The Richou style has undoubtedly contributed to the notoriety of the Loire appellations of Anjou Noir.
In October 2019, Didier claimed his retirement rights and three passionate new vintners joined forces with Damien to take over from Didier: Bénédicte Petit, Christophe Aubineau and Luc Briand. Their respective paths have never taken them away from the land or the vines. With Damien Richou, they will form a « Club des 4 » which will be based on the solid experience of the field and Didier's experience.
In 2020, the domaine will formalize its transition to biodynamics. More than a change in cultural fashion, it is a real cultural mutation around the EARTH, LIFE and WINE. To illustrate this major evolution, the domaine has decided to adopt a name and logo that reflect these strong values : TERRA VITA VINUM, while retaining the signature of the Richou domaine.
As Francis Bacon said: « Nature can only be controlled by obeying it ». It is also my philosophy and my reason for being in this business.
Coming from a family of winegrowers, I very early practiced the exercise of blind tasting with groups of enthusiasts. Over the years, I have felt the need to better understand why I found certain sensations recurrent in some winegrowers and not in others. After several dozen exhibitions and more than a hundred winegrowers I met, I acquired a conviction from their contact : I was even more eager to learn and enter this fascinating world of creators of unique works... The best way for me to satisfy this need was to move to the other side of the fence. Now that the jump is done, a new adventure begins ! I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the winegrowers who have had the patience to answer my questions and who have ultimately confirmed my passion. And I hope that one day, I will be able to return the favor with my colleagues and also when I receive groups of enthusiastic amateurs at the domaine.
The wine adventure started for me around oenology courses with the association Le Verre à soi. Passionate about tasting, especially when practiced blindly, I created in 2004, the online sales site Vins et indépendance and held a cellar in Nantes for 10 years. I have always been fascinated by this amazing world, by the richness of the encounters I have been able to make and by the pleasure of sharing my discoveries with wine lovers : novice or experienced consumers, sommeliers, restaurateurs and other professionals. Today it is this experience that I wish to put at the service of the Richou domaine, with a unique motivation, to satisfy as well as possible the taste expectations of our customers of today and tomorrow.
It is also the blind tasting that developed my passion for wine. Beyond the conviviality associated with the exercise, it allowed me to characterize my appreciation for certain grape varieties and appellations and encouraged me to meet the winegrowers who produced these wines. Many of them strongly insist on the fact that it is in the vineyard that the wine is made. The development of farming practices that respect the soil, plants, life and people is also a commitment of resources that we owe to all those involved in this activity, to the delight of consumers. The domain has understood this dimension for many years now. Aware of the benefits of this know-how, which must go beyond preconceived ideas, the team is committed to a continuous improvement process in both vine growing and winemaking. It is in this perspective that I find one of the fundamental reasons for our project.
The domaine is rather well diversified geographically and is structured around « seven different terroirs » :
This diversification makes it possible to distribute the climatic hazards but also to multiply the mineral expressions of the geological characteristics of each of these seven parcels.
The vineyard, with a surface area of about thirty hectares, is located in the part of the Anjou Noir region of the Loire Valley, south of Angers. Unlike the Saumur region known as the white Anjou and characterized by its limestone soils which correspond to the Parisian basin, the Anjou noir with its dark rocks (schists, gneiss, rhyolites and granite), corresponds to the Armorican massif. And it is precisely this characteristic that gives wines a pronounced and unique character. The Anjou noir is a shale land. Fabrice Redois, geologist, lecturer at the UFR Sciences, University of Angers, explains that the Anjou Noir is « a geological unit composed mainly of rocks that have been subjected to constraints (folds, faults, magmatic intrusions, metamorphism) related to orogenesis (mountain range formation) ».
On the wine-growing soils of the Anjou Noir, there is therefore a predominance of schists (sandstone to sandstone schists, purple schist sometimes sandstone, green-grey schist...), but also different volcanic rocks (rhyolites, spilites, phtanites,...). In 50 metres, you can travel a million years ! The diversity of the terroirs is also due to surface formations, such as wind sands or colluvium. To this can be added the influence of the Loire and its tributaries, the presence of hillsides in Anjou which are found to be adapted to the cultivation of vines, as well as the angevin microclimate - this is not a legend since it records one of the lowest rainfall rates in the Loire Valley.
Thus, the king of Angevin grape variety, chenin, feels very comfortable on the terroirs of the Anjou Noir. We have everything we need to have quality wines : the suitability of the grape variety and the soil between the chenin and the schist, the limited yields, the quality monitoring... Organic wines are not in the standard of varietal wines, we are on wines from the soil. These are lands that warm up easily, » says Didier Richou. From a micro-climatic point of view, they are particularly suitable for a good maturity of Chenin, which is a late variety. The schist brings something special to the mouth, a unique style.