The oldest archive pointing to the Lecointre family being vignerons in Anjou—a journal entry listing sales of wine in barrel—dates from 1779, but Lecointres have been farming grapes and making wine deep in France’s heartland since at least the 16th century. Their 74 acres grow in the middle of Côteaux du Layon, scattered among the neighboring villages of Champ-sur-Layon, Faye d’Anjou, and Rablay-sur-Layon. These are divided into 18 parcels, with Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Grolleau Gris and Grolleau Noir dominating, followed by Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pineau d’Aunis, and Gamay. Cyrille Lecointre is the current head of the domaine. The biggest change he’s made so far has been to move the domaine into organic farming, which happened soon after he returned home from enology school in 2013. Representing the 9th generation, Cyrille took the reins from his father in 2016, and a year later the certifying agency granted full organic status.
A parcel of just over 4 acres planted by Cyrille’s grandfather in 1960 in Champ-sur-Layon. Like the above, it’s raised in tank and meant to be a vin de soif, but one from the rare Pineau d'Aunis, and made without any addition of sulfites (even at bottling). In medieval days, the grape was one of the most celebrated in the Loire. England's Henry III imported Pineau d'Aunis to serve at court, and France's Charles VII offered the wine to the duke of Burgundy in 1425. In our time, however, the grape nearly went extinct toward the end of the 20th century, and only recently has seen a revival as a Loire original, prized for its peppery spice and lightweight, full flavors.