Vins de la Gabare - Anjou, France

Vins de la Gabare is where music and wine meet.

A former jazz pianist, winemaker Nicolas Réau makes wine with a handful of other local growers in Anjou and Nantes as naturally as possible.

Nicolas has become an increasingly important face in the natural wine world, having started out on the low-intervention journey in 2002, and experimenting with zero-sulphur wines in 2007. When not in his winery, your next best bet La Dive Bouteille (his wife and fellow vigneron Sylvie Augereau is the organiser of that prestigious event) and other natural wine fairs around the world.

Nicolas' own estate is called Le Clos des Treilles, but given the capricious nature of vintages in this part of the Loire, Nicolas has working closely with local growers to bolster supply, as well as benefit from their different styles and flavour profiles. Buying grapes is also encouragement for these producers to work organically.

Les Vins de la Gabare is a collabroation between Nicolas, Les Caves de Pyrene, and a handful of small growers in Anjou and also in the Pays Nantais. Nicolas makes the wines to the same exacting standards as he does those from his own estate.

And in case you're wondering, a 'gabare' is a flat bottomed boat, like a barge, except it often has a sail, typical of the region. Pictured!

We've singled out here the Grandes Hermines Chenin Blanc - this is a perfect example of a naturally produced wine doing everything the right way. Even though there is no 'Anjou Blanc' appellation designation on this wine, it's as true to the terroir and spirit of Loire valley terroir as you can get. With some extra time in used oak, this juicy, lively, slightly floral expression of Chenin Blanc is a fun crowd-pleaser for your holiday gathering. Enjoy with everything from a classic roast chicken to a spicy Thai takeaway feast.