Winemaker Spotlight: Emmanuel Ogereau
Emmanuel is the newest member of the five-generation Anjou dynasty, Domaine Ogereau. To meet him is to meet a man almost vibrating with excitement and passion for the work that he and his family get to do on a daily basis. And for this, we are eternally grateful, as the wines that he has already succeeded in making from this little Loire enclave are truly remarkable.
It is fair to say that Emmanuel was raised in the vines, so perhaps it's of no surprise that when he joined his father in his mid-twenties, he came with a strong vision as to what he wanted to bring to the domain and the type of wines he was going to create. Despite such self-assuredness and oh-so frequent risk of young winemakers to be rather cocksure, Emmanuel is full of humility and appreciation for what his family has built before him and the remarkable platform that this has given him. And vice versa, his mother and father Catherine and Vincent, have opened their arms to his energy and ideas for the family business. Such changes from generation to generation have often led to warring factions, but his family knows that evolution is inevitable and even more, needed.
Emmanuel’s family had made a strong name for themselves as classic producers of red and sweet wines. However, when Emmanuel joined, his laser-focus was on making dry Chenin Blancs. As a result, he has made incredible strides to showcase the variance in the Anjou terroir and the impeccable versatility of dry Chenin in this diverse pocket of France. Tasting each of his Chenins side-by-side is a remarkable experience. From novice to professional, it is impossible to not find yourself diving deeper into your glass and debating the intricate differences in each bottling.
Invariably, everyone has their favourites but everyone agrees that tasting these is to go on a wild adventure. Chenin grown on the dark schist soils tends to create wines that are fleshier, savoury and with a more bitter touch (which we love). But this part of the Loire is not all about the sinewy power of schist; Emmanuel is emphatic on this and talks with great enthusiasm about the elegance and grace in his wines that come from the wind-blown sands, prominent in a number of his vineyards and particularly those at higher altitudes, such as his Savennières.
Emmanuel’s work in the vineyards promotes biodiversity and his vines, interspersed with hedgerows, forests and meadows, are also home to a whole host of insects, birds, sheep and roebuck. This impeccable work is channelled into the cellar and you see it in every bottle he produces, through the precision and intensity of his wines, but also in the closures he uses. Emmanuel’s wines are all closed with Vin-Lok glass closures, which not only look elegant, but are also able to mimic the micro-oxygenation of natural cork closures which is great for maturing wines, without any of the issues that corks bring.