First planted in 1130 by Cistercian monks, La Coulée de Serrant lies completely within the boundaries of Savennières and is one of the only three single estate appellations in France (along with Romanée Conti – Burgundy – and Château-Grillet – Northern Rhône). La Coulée de Serrant has been in the Joly family since 1962. It is the finest biodynamic vineyards in the world which fascinated many talented great producers such as Lalou Bize-Leroy and Anne-Claude Leflaive.
Nicolas Joly began converting the family domaine to biodynamics in 1981. The 17.2 acres of vines at the Clos are between 35 and 80 years old, growing on steep south east-to-west facing schist slopes, overlooking the Loire River. Every aspect of production is carefully and naturally controlled. Manure comes from a herd of ten Highland and Nantaise cows, who are themselves fed only natural local produce, and from the winter passage of Oussant sheep. Snails are removed using chickens from a portable coop, and the minimal amount of ploughing that takes place is done using horses. Herbicides have not been used here for decades, and medicinal plants are used rather than harmful chemicals. Winemaking is as much as possible non interventionist. The wine ferments and ages in 500-litre barrels, with no more than five percent new oak in a vintage. No chaptilization, only indigenous yeasts are employed.
The result of this non interventionist philosophy crafts one of the greatest white wines in the world!
Nicolas Joly, who runs the estate with his daughter, Virginie, is perhaps the world’s most vocal proponent of biodynamic viticulture, having written a series of books on the subject (and a very interesting website explaining biodynamic techniques).