Few wineries impress with such an illustrious history as Château de Fosse-Sèche. First planted to vine by Benedictine monks in the 1200s, the Pire-Keller family established the modern incarnation of the estate in 1998. Situated near the tiny village of Brossay, two brothers, Adrien and Guillaume Pire, tend to the 45-hectare property with the utmost care and consideration for the ecosystem.
Prioritizing integrative viticulture over commercial concerns, fully two-thirds of the estate are not vineyards at all – instead, they are dedicated to nature and biodiversity. Of particular note is that this is now an LPO (Ligue de la Protection des Oiseau) haven, with more than 100 wildlife shelters installed since 2018, the largest such project carried out in the Maine-et-Loire département. They have also created a wetland on the property to facilitate the reproduction of amphibians and certain insects, as well as planting over 30 types of flowers in different locations to provide areas for pollinators.
Agroforestry is an integral part of the ethos at Fosse-Sèche, as the property is home to many trees as well as being surrounded by forest on two sides. Over the past five years, about 3000 trees have been planted with the objective of guiding wind over the vineyards, reducing the impact of climate change. They are also part of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation Biodiversity Nature 2050 program, which aims to improve biodiversity in agricultural and forestry environments. Fosse-Sèche has been recognized for combining economic development, social improvement of the company, and comprehensive promotion of the preservation of biodiversity on the estate.
As a result of the dedication of the Pire brothers to all aspects of viticulture and vinification, these wines shine with a focused minerality and typicity and are widely recognized as some of the finest in the region. Wine critic and Loire Valley expert Stephan Reinhardt calls the estate “[a] model winery of the new Loire,” noting that “[w]henever I see a Fosse-Sèche on the wine list, I order it because it always refreshes and touches the soul.” We can’t help but agree that these wines radiate their uniqueness and purity of fruit, focused minerality, and expression of this carefully-tended terroir.