Layon, Coteaux du

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Layon, Coteaux du, large appellation with more than 1,000 ha/2,500 acres of Chenin Blanc made generally medium-sweet white (much richer from the best independent vignerons) in the anjou district of the loire. The communes of Beaulieu (-sur-Layon), Faye (d’Anjou), chaume, Rablay (-sur-Layon), Rochefort (-sur-Loire), St-Aubin (de Luigné), and St-Lambert (du Lattay) may append their names to the appellation if yields are restricted to 30 hl/ha (as opposed to 35 hl/ha for Coteaux du Layon). Two small areas within the area produce wines of such quality that they have earned their own appellations, bonnezeaux and quarts de chaume. They, and most of the best vineyards of the Coteaux du Layon, are on the steep slopes on the right bank of the Layon tributary of the Loire. terroir is all here, for Coteaux du Layon should be an intense wine made ideally from several tries through the vineyard, selecting botrytized grapes, or those that have begun to raisin on the vine. Producers such as Claude Papin of Ch Pierre Bise vinify grapes picked on slate, schist, clay, and sandstone separately to demonstrate the variation in style and potential longevity. Yields vary enormously according to the conditions of the vintage, but are officially limited to 35 hl/ha and 30 hl/ha for wines labelled Coteaux du Layon plus the name of one of the villages Beaulieu (-sur-Layon), chaume, Faye (d’Anjou), Rablay (-sur-Layon), Rochefort (-sur-Loire), St-Aubin (de Luigné), and St-Lambert (du Lattay). The appellation that includes the seven village crus is spread along about 20 km/12 miles of south-west facing slopes, in an extremely narrow strip of vines, above the Layon tributary of the Loire, together with a few slopes around St-Lambert, on buttes that catch drying winds straight off the Atlantic.