When Laurent Lebled found himself unemployed after 30+ years working as a wood merchant, wine wasn’t exactly the first thing on his mind. The 2008 recession had hit hard, and without any other prospects in the wood industry, it looked like he was flat out of luck. Fortunately, two childhood friends would help him find a new path in a direction he never would have expected.
Those two friends are Sébastien Bobinet and Patrick Corbineau. Sébastien quit his job in 2003 after inheriting two hectares of vines from his grandfather. Patrick’s story is quite similar: quitting his job at the Chinon powerplant after inheriting vines from his grandfather. Despite Lebled not coming from a wine family, owning no vineyards and having never spent a day working in vines or a cellar, Sébastien insisted that becoming a vigneron would be a good fit for him. Laurent was reticent, but Sébastien promised he would show him how to do everything. It seemed like a long-shot, but Laurent took the plunge by assisting Bobinet through the 2009 vintage.
2010 was the first vintage of A la Vôtre, a year when Sébastien Bobinet and Patrick Corbineau generously showed Laurent the ins and outs of viticulture and winemaking. Laurent now fully helms the operation, producing sulfur-free, carbonically macerated whites and reds.
The first step to founding the estate came in finding some vines and a cellar. Laurent had always been a fan of the Touraine AOC, and through friends was able to find 1.7 hectares of vines and a cellar to rent in the commune of Saint-Aignan. Shortly after the contract for the vines was signed, the proprietor of the cellar backed out, forcing Laurent to improvise. On very short notice, he was able to find a chai in Savigny-en-Véron, over an hour away from the vines in Saint-Aignan. Though far from ideal, Laurent moved things forward by renting an additional 0.5 hectares of Cabernet Franc on sandy soils right by his newly acquired cellar and contined to rent the Saint-Aignan land.
In 2019, Laurent was able to purchase 10 hectares of vines and a cellar from a retiring vigneron in the same proximity as the Saint-Aignan vines he’d been cultivating. He and his wife Sonya now live in Châtillon-sur-Cher, a 12 minute drive to his vineyards. The vines are 30 to 60 years old and the break down as such: 3.32 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc, 1.60HA of Gamay, 0.84HA of Pinot Noir, 0.35HA of Menu Pineau and 1.85HA of Cabernet Franc (the remainder is farmed and vinified by his daughter Barbara). Despite being an hour drive, he also decided to keep his parcel of Picasses. The cuvées will keep the same names but the vinifications have evolved slightly with the new cellar.
Vinification notes: Whole-cluster grapes are given a 10 day full carbonic maceration in stainless steel. They’re then pressed and racked to fiberglass for aging.