Created in 2018, Domaine Belargus is first and foremost the dream of a passionate person, which has become reality. At the origin of the project, the vision of a great wine lover, determined to give back its letters of nobility to a thousand-year-old vineyard. Nothing predestined Ivan Massonnat, fulfilled in his Parisian life, to become a winegrower, except his passion for wine, born in the Savoyard vineyards of his grandfather and released as an adult like a "Proust's madeleine".
After years of searching for the ideal vineyard, Ivan fell in love with Anjou and its great schist terroirs where Chenin, the emblematic grape variety of the Loire, expresses itself like nowhere else. Through successive encounters, he was able to build up a 24-hectare vineyard, which is now managed biodynamically. With Chenin as its only instrument, the Domaine explores the micro-terroirs of Anjou in a parcel-based approach inspired by the Burgundian "climats". Its name is that of an endemic blue butterfly: the Belargus.
Since its creation, Domaine Belargus has wanted to be part of the history of Anjou and the Layon valley. With this ambitious project, Ivan Massonnat is helping to restore the prestige of this thousand-year-old wine region.
The design of the current winery does not allow the estate's wine-making requirements to be met. The project will remedy this with the construction of a new 1000m2 cellar and the renovation of a 250m2 house and its outbuildings to house the estate's offices and common areas.
In keeping with its close relationship with nature, Domaine Belargus wanted a discreet winery, integrated into a clearing with century-old trees, and exemplary in environmental terms: bio-sourced materials, low energy consumption and reuse of resources on the site. This new place, sheltered from view and focused on the ageing of the wines, will allow the public to enjoy a unique visiting and tasting experience.
the 3 teams selected for the competition
lina ghotmeh architecture
aapp / atelier d'architecture philippe prost
an environmental commitment
Unlike other French wine regions, Anjou has managed to preserve its landscapes by maintaining a balance between vineyards and natural sites. The vines stand side by side with forests, hedges and waterways, creating a biodiversity that is rare in the world of wine, which obviously has an impact on the richness of the terroirs and the quality of the wines to which Belargus can lay claim. Protecting this environment is a crucial issue for the estate, which the project must address.
the renaissance of chenin blanc and forgotten terroirs
In the 11th century, the hillsides of Anjou were planted with vines by religious orders. Chenin then reigned supreme (representing more than 80% of the vineyard) and, until the 19th century, Anjou wines were served on royal tables throughout Europe. A demanding grape variety that is difficult to master depending on the year, it gradually fell into disuse (representing around 20% of the current grape varieties) before regaining its letters of nobility at the beginning of the 2000s. On the 24 hectares of the Domaine, Chenin reigns unchallenged. It is the "instrument", allowing each parcel to be interpreted like a "score".
An emblematic grape variety of the entire region, it expresses the specificities and richness of the Anjou terroirs better than anywhere else. Not very aromatic, it is a real "passer de terroirs", capable of interpreting the subtleties of the plots from which it comes in a precise manner. It is also distinguished by its broad organoleptic palette, capable of producing wines of great complexity. Finally, it gives rise to wines, both dry and sweet, with excellent ageing potential.
The terroirs of Belargus are all nuggets of the Anjou Noir. Nestled between the Loire and its tributary the Layon, the vines of Domaine Belargus are spread over three main areas: Savennières, Quarts-de-Chaume and the Layon valley. These three islands are themselves composed of singular terroirs, precisely defined by their exposure, their subsoil and their slope.
an asserted identity, the construction of a place
The estate is not looking for image architecture or a visible signal from the vines. The bottles are the only communication tool of Belargus, because it is the wine that is its main concern, its priority and its identity. But the architecture of the new winery and its integration into the site will create a sacred place for wine, worthy of its surroundings, offering a memorable visiting and tasting experience.
The project will enable the estate to be a long-term success. The new winery will reflect the identity of Belargus for decades to come. It will be resilient, adapted to technical developments and sized to anticipate future needs. Its design will be closely linked to the functional needs of the cellar workers, with the aim of making the best possible wine.
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