Domaine du Petit Métris covers 30 hectares and is situated in le Grand Beauvais hameau, near the village of St Aubin-de- Luigné, also known as the “pearl of Layon”, in the heart of the Chaume and Quarts de Chaume appellations. Chaume and Quarts de Chaume are sweet wines made from Chenin Blanc. The name Chaume comes from the central village from this area and Quarts de Chaume originates from the Middle Ages when the seigneur used to levy a quarter of the production, which naturally was the best of the crop, it became known as Quarts de Chaume.
Until 2003 the Chaume appellation was known as “Coteaux du Layon Chaume” when it was elevated to “Chaume Premier Cru des Coteaux du Layon”, creating conflicts with other Loire appellations as there are no other Premiers or Grand Crus part of the AOC name in the Loire, as opposed to Burgundy and Bordeaux for example. In 2007 the appellation was simplified and changed to Chaume. Chaume covers 130 hectares and the grapes must be passerillés or affected by noble rot with a minimum residual sugar of 68g/l.
Quarts de Chaume covers 54 hectares only and both Chaume and Quarts de Chaume are the highest rated vineyards in the area. The vineyard is exposed to the wind on a South facing slope; ideal for botrytis to develop. The soil is made of clay with pebbles.
Petit Métris has been in the Renou family since 1784. With the French revolution François Renou, then a farm worker, purchases a few vines in Grand Beauvais. Gradually he extends his wine estate. Later his son develops further the family winery by adding a cellar and purchasing more vineyards in Chaume and other appellations. The property will develop from one generation to the next with the last purchase in the 90’s of Les Fougeraies and Le Clos de la Marche in nearby Savennières. Joseph Renou, 5th generation, and his two sons, Pascal and Hervé, now run the family winery. The vineyards cover 30 hectares with 72% Chenin Blanc, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Grolleau and some Gamay and Chardonnay.
The oldest Chaume vineyard dates from 1905 and Petit Métris produces several Cuvées of Chaume and Quarts de Chaume. The yields are extremely low, the grapes are picked and sorted several times in order to keep only the best berries to produce the wine. The grapes must have botrytis to make Chaume and Quarts de Chaume. La Fougeraie and Clos de la Marche are the two Savennières vineyards and they are vinified separately in order to retain and express each vineyard’s own character. The vineyards are ideally situated facing south and south -west, along a well sheltered slope with the primary rock close to the surface with a shallow top soil. Vinification methods will differ with every vintage, depending on the vintage conditions. The one is vinified in foudres whereas the other one is vinified in stainless steal tanks, depending on the vintage, the wine will be aged on wood or not at all. The idea is to show the best from each vineyard and complement the vineyard’s specificity. Both are great to be consumed young and fresh, they will also age very well in good conditions and develop more refined aromas and flavors.
The Renou family uses ecologically friendly methods and belong to Terra Vitis and Vignerons Independent associations. Both organizations promoting environmentally sustainable viticulture whilst abiding to a certain work ethic, with a complete control of the production chain by the producer. Pascal and Hervé share responsibilities with Pascal mainly working in the vineyards and Hervé in the cellar. Both aim at producing exceptional wines starting in the vineyards where the ground work is done in order to create exceptional wines. The work in the vineyards is done throughout the year; in the cellar pragmatic knowledge and experimentation contribute to creating high quality wines regardless of the vintage conditions.
Petit Metris is a newcomer in the US market place, with a long history record back in France.
"As for the new face in this crowd, Domaine du Petit Métris makes an auspicious debut in the United States with a half-dozen outstanding wines. The 30-hectare estate is located in the midst of the Quarts de Chaume and Chaume appellations (Chaume being the latest approved name, since 2007, for the former Chaume Premier Cru des Coteaux du Layon appellation). Brothers Hervé and Pascal Renou are currently the sixth generation to run this family estate." J.Molesworth Wine Spectator 01.13.10.