Moderator : Myriam Laidet
1. Myriam Laidet (Keynote Speaker) - The vineyard garden of the Loire Valley, the example of Savennières, from the vineyard to agricultural landscaped grounds
The Loire Valley has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 2000 as part of its cultural landscape. The vineyards, with their unique heritage and landscape, are one of the components of this international recognition. The viticultural area included in the perimeter of the UNESCO site corresponds to 18% of the total area of the Loire vineyard, the third largest in France, stretching, on both sides of the UNESCO site, from the Sancerrois to the region of Nantes.
If wine is the expression of a soil, a climate, a know-how, it is also the fruit of a cultural evolution. The latter is witnessed by the heritage, both built and landscape as well as age-old uses. The vineyard of the Loire Valley should be understood looking at its geography and history, that of its farming culture with the defining role of the monastic communities and growth thanks to the dynamism of Loire Valley port cities, which favored the export of the production of thousands of estates and small vineyards.
The vineyard, in the Loire Valley, often corresponds to enclosed gardens of farms called "closeries". These were transformed over time into mansions, manor houses, châteaux for holidays and are present throughout the countryside of the Loire Valley. The Italian garden art introduced in the Loire Valley in the Renaissance, scientific leads of the aristocrats - physiocrats during the Enlightenment, "landscape designers" of the nineteenth century great parks largely contributed to the development of this agricultural landscape, the quality of its fruits and wines as well as its recognition and fame.
The purpose of this contribution is to propose a characterization of this multi-centennial creation of the wine-growing landscape from the analysis of a territory, Savennières. This one presents very Loire Valley references, a geomorphology of small valleys interspersed with the river and the valley (the coulées). There is a very old history of occupation of an important promontory on the Loire River (fortress of the castle of Aulnay), which over the centuries, became the favorite area to holiday for the business nobility of the Angevine region.
Vines are present in Savennières since the 7th century, and this soil is a unique place for experimenting and improving management of the vine and wine. This was the initiative of the monastic communities, the scientists and designers mobilized in the 18th century as well as the owners of large agricultural estates in the 19th century.
The exercise, purposefully constrained, is seeking to establish the principles for a characterization method of one of the components of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Loire Valley. It will call for an essential more in-depth approach by comparing other situations and wine-growing landscapes of the Loire Valley - Unesco.
This characterization will be proposed in two phases, a description of the characterization principles followed by a presentation of their application as part of a field visit. Three reading tours of heritage and landscapes will be proposed as feedback and generate a debate.
2. Thierry Pelloquet - Anjou's Vine and Wine Heritage
At the crossroads of history and culture, know-how and experimental practices, terroir and landscapes, the real economy and a warm sociability, the vine and the wine occupy a special place in the history of men, especially in the Loire Valley, conducive to the development of the vineyard for many centuries.
As it has been known since Antiquity, the culture of vines in Anjou has produced throughout history a great variety of landscapes and architectural forms that attest to permanence and change, traditions and experiments, and which make up today the very strong identity of its territories.
Through the prism of Chenin, emblematic grape variety which also offers a range of diversified productions, from dry to sweet and sparkling, the object of this presentation will be to discover the great wealth of these heritage inscribed in the various vineyards where is always implanted.
Sloppy, the "coulées" of Savennières are thus marked by old and noble domains that punctuate also the softer ripples of Aubance. The Saumurois, limestone, is stands out by its numerous closures and its underground vinification linked to the singularity of the troglodyte sites. The Layon corridor is dotted with vineyard villages and small wine castles with polychrome materials.
Linked to the specificities of viticultural history, but also to the evolution of construction techniques and decorative styles, the architecture is also multiple (numerous?) from a typological point of view: from cellars to homes of masters or houses of workers, dependencies of castles or industrial stores. It is also diverse from a chronological point of view, from the cellars of medieval abbeys to the large "model" wine estates of the post-phylloxeric period; simple houses of vintners from the Ancien Régime to the great "Maisons" of sparkling wines from the late 19th century.
Reflecting a centuries-old history, these heritages are today a living legacy, a vector of identity and attractiveness of the territories, particularly through its tourist enhancement.