Domaine de la RENIÈRE

Loire Valley, France

Situated in the heart of Puy-Notre-Dame (just 15 miles from Saumur), Domaine de la Reinière is an 18-hectare estate spearheaded by the lively and spirited Thibault Masse, who took over the property from a multi-generational family—though Thibault’s passion for nature runs deep. “I grew up on a farm and always loved contact with nature,” he shares. “Close friends who are passionate about wine passed on their passion to me and made me want to embark on the adventure.”

After high school, Thibault pursued studies in viticulture and oenology, which led him to a two-year work-study program with Romain Guiberteau, who he credits with teaching him the foundations of winemaking. It was at this time that Thibault also fell in love with the Chenin Blanc variety. He went on to complete his degree in vine science / plant biology in Dijon, then attained his oenology diploma in Bordeaux. Internships at Latour-Martillac (Pessac-Léognan) and Cheval Blanc (Saint-Emilion) followed, which led him to taking on he cellar master position for four years at Ampelidae before taking the reins at Domaine de la Renière in partnership with his associate, Guillaume Poitevin. 

Upon his arrival in 2018, all vines at Domaine de la Renière have been farmed organically. Thibault explains that he practices gentle pruning, as he favors balance over yield. In the cellar, he seeks to make precise wines with as low intervention as possible. Harvests are done by hand, spontaneous fermentations are executed with native yeasts, and élevage is done with a distinct attention to detail. While he doesn’t cite having any specific mentors, Thibault shares that there are a few vignerons with him he likes to share ideas with. 

“I think of the Pire brothers (Château de Fosse Sèches) for their relationship with nature, Claire Naudin with her constant research and her numerous trials on the vine, and Aymeric Hilaire (Melaric) for her philosophy of wine, as well as many others,” he says, stating that he is most inspired by curious winemakers who “do not hesitate to gently free themselves from dogmas,” and remain sensitive to the environment around them. 

Today, Thibault works mostly with Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc ranging from three to 70 years in age, planted on the area’s signature tuffeau soils. This year, he has released a new cuvée called ‘Les Caves Blanches,’ which is produced from a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay planted around the domaine. “I was lucky enough to discover wines that gave me emotion very early on, and I look to find that in my wines,” he says, affirming that he attaches a lot of importance to the notion of balance across the board, in the case of wine, nature, and humans. “I seek to produce profound wines, wines of pleasure that encourage exchange, connections and reflection,” he says thoughtfully. Although just six years in, we can confidently say he’s already hitting the mark!